MANILA - Drivers and operators of "colorum" passenger vans appealed Sunday for President Rodrigo Duterte to abolish the "syndicate" of fixers within the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Transport group Bukluran claimed that dishonest LTFRB employees connive with fixers to sell individual franchises at higher prices that drivers and operators cannot afford.
"Gusto po naming mag-hanapbuhay nang marangal at walang balakid ngunit mailap po sa amin ang pagkakataon upang magkaroon ng indibidwal na prangkisa sa kadahilanang ito po'y may kalakihan ang halaga sapagkat dumadaan pa sa fixer ang proseso," the group said in a statement.
"Amin din pong napag-alaman na sinisindikato rin po marahil ang pag-proseso ng prangkisa ng ahensya ng gobyerno dahil taga-loob din po mismo ang bumibili at nangagapital sa mababang halaga upang ito'y ipagbili sa labas ng ahensya sa napakataas na halaga."
Speaking to radio dzMM, Bukluran convenor Ramonito Bolatario alleged that dishonest LTFRB employees would often buy all individual franchises in a single release batch, and give these to fixers.
They would then tell transport operators to seek help from fixers, Bolatario said.
He added that around P40,000 to P50,000 is needed to secure an individual franchise from the LTFRB, but fixers demand about thrice this amount.
Dennis Tamayo, another convenor of Bukluran, said: "Dumadaan nga po sa mga fixer kaya nadaragdagan nang nadaragdagan ang presyo. Pinagpapalipat-lipat po nila para lumaki."
Bukluran urged the President to look into the allegation and order the release of special permits for van operators, especially now that the LTFRB and other agencies are bolstering the crackdown on out-of-line vehicles.
Tamayo noted that apprehended drivers of illegitimate vans are incapable of settling the fine of P200,000 since most of them are still paying off loans for purchasing their units.
Bukluran also asked the Duterte administration to cut down the fees for transport franchises and speed up its application process.
(READ: 'No more waiting': Duterte vows to cut red tape)