There’s no room for fixers and name-droppers in the government’s Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP).
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) emphasized this in a joint statement they issued yesterday.
The DoTr and LTFRB warned the public against the “name-dropping modus operandi of several alleged fixers preying on transport operators in the guise of assisting them in participating in the PUVMP.”
The two agencies came to know of the fixers’ activities through a letter sent to the LTFRB by the Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas (LTOP) identifying the alleged name-droppers.
LTOP said its former member Joseph Z. Abeleda, along with a certain Robert Bacuyag and Regevie Capalac, has been using the names of DoTr Secretary Arthur P. Tugade and LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III to amass millions of pesos in “payola” for their own benefit.
The three personalities had been name-dropping Tugade and Delgra in asking parties interested in the PUVMP to “pay for the preparation of a technical survey and a route, as requirements for applying for franchises.”
The “payola” involving millions of pesos are purportedly delivered to the Office of the Secretary (DoTr) and the Office of the Chairman (LTFRB), LTOP said.
The modus operandi involved Abeleda and his group charging transport operators thousands of pesos each to produce the so-called technical and route surveys.
Abeleda had been disowned by LTOP in the light of his activities resulting in the filing of estafa charges against him.
Several members of a transport cooperative have previously attested under oath that Abeleda collected P30,000 of cooperative funds from them as payment for road rationalization evaluation and demographic engineering survey.
The transport coop members said they were assured that they will be given franchises under the PUVMP with the help of his alleged connection inside DoTr and LTFRB.
Abeleda and his group had also been accused of acting as “protectors” of colorum transport vehicles plying the Montalban to Cubao route, according to the joint DoTr-LTFRB statement.
Purportedly, the group pays off LTFRB officials P3,000 a month as protection money.
Both Secretary Tugade and Chairman Delgra categorically denied “any connection or involvement with Abeleda and his group.” The two officials condemned the use of their names in any and all criminal activities by anyone.
According to the DoTr and LTFRB, a route survey is not for sale and does not serve as basis for a public utility vehicle (PUV) to ply a route.
Instead, a route survey is conducted to see the potential of a particular route in terms of commuter demand and PUV supply.
LTFRB further clarified that even if a particular transport group has requested for the opening of a certain route, no exclusivity is granted to the requester.
“If the route is eventually approved, it will be opened to all applicants subject to a pre-qualification process,” said the DoTr and LTFRB as they reiterated their “resolute stance” against corruption and support for President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign for clean governance.
Delgra sought the help of the public to expose personalities who demand money in exchange for LTFRB services that are meant to be free of charge.
“Walang bayad ang prangkisa (franchises are for free),” Delgra said.