MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Thursday began apprehending buses with franchises that were either cancelled or suspended by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
This came after the LTFRB issued a final decision regarding bus operators who allegedly joined the bus strike last November 15, 2010.
“We are just implementing the order handed down by the LTFRB. It is our duty as an enforcement unit to do our job,” MMDA official Alu Dorotan explained.
The MMDA official said buses will be apprehended unless their owners have filed an appeal with the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC), or if a review is already ongoing.
Dorotan said the operation started at 2:30 p.m. after the MMDA received a copy of the order from LTFRB.
As of 5:20 p.m., at least 50 buses have been apprehended along EDSA and Commonwealth, MMDA said.
Dorotan noted that despite the cancelled and suspended franchises, there are enough buses on EDSA to transport commuters.
Dela Fuente to file appeal
Meanwhile, Philippine Corinthian Liner bus operator Claire dela Fuente said she is surprised with the LTFRB decision to deny their motion for reconsideration and reiterate its original decision to cancel their franchise.
According to dela Fuente, she is being used as a "fall guy" even if she had no participation in last year's transport strike that caused thousands of commuters to become stranded.
Dela Fuente added that she only has 10 bus units along Commonwealth, 5 of which were under number coding last November 15, 2010, while the other 5 were prevented from plying their route by strikers.
Dela Fuente plans to appeal the matter before the DOTC and even the Court of Appeals.
She also challenged the LTFRB to release its decision on the case of some 80 other operators who were summoned last year due to the strike.
She also denied allegations that she is selling or renting out her franchise to other bus operators.
According to dela Fuente, Philippine Corinthian Liner is a family corporation and she is only 1 of 19 owners.
Dela Fuente added they have more than 100 buses and she is ready to present her franchise and other documents to prove that there is no irregularity in their corporation. -- With a report from Zen Hernandez, ABS-CBN News