MANILA, Philippines - An ally of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Wednesday criticized the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for threatening to revoke the franchises of transport operators whose units will participate in a transport strike against high fuel prices.
In a statement, Zambales Rep. Mitos Magsaysay said the threats against transport groups were a form of tyranny.
“The last time I checked, this was a free country and any sector, or individual could speak out and say his piece without fearing censure so long as what he is saying is within the bounds of decency,” she said. “Why should operators fear the revocation of their franchises if they participate in a protest that seeks to communicate their plight to the government?”
Magsaysay said that before the LTFRB makes threats, they should first understand where the transport sector is coming from and why it is resorting to a strike.
The lawmaker also said she does not blame transport groups who won't attend the meeting with the President due to lack of confidence in the revival of the Pantawid Pasada subsidy program.
“What we are hearing now is that some of the subsidy cards awarded to beneficiaries were never used because there was no load. If this was the case, what makes this round any different?” she said.
Magsaysay reiterated her call for a review of the Oil Deregulation Law. She said empowering the government to check and monitor the operations of oil firms, especially in terms of movement in prices, is a good way to safeguard the welfare of the transport sector and check fluctuations in the prices of oil products.