By March 16, 2021Opinion, Punchline

DOTr’s new profiteering scheme via LTFRB

By Ermin Garcia Jr.   


WHILE the news from the LTFRB about the expected resumption of operations of bus companies this month is good and beneficial, there is a caveat that removes the full benefit to passengers.

I refer to the requirement of LTFRB that buses from Pangasinan will have to end in Bocaue Bulacan, not in any bus terminal in Quezon City.

There is absolutely nothing in it for the passengers or for traffic on EDSA to require passengers to transfer to another bus in Bocaue but to add further inconvenience, longer travel time, added health risks of passengers, and more expenses for passengers.

It’s no different from the scheme two years ago that required provincial buses to transfer passengers to other buses at the terminal in Valenzuela, Bulacan. But that ploy that used EDSA traffic as alibi, bombed out. This time, it’s going to be in Bocaue.

It’s another ploy for profiteering similar to the Private Motor Vehicles Inspection Center conspiracy racket. It’s another attempt to serve profits to special investors in the transport industry at the expense of the unsuspecting, suffering public.

Now we know why allowing public transport from the north was taking some time – the terminal in Bocaue is not fully completed.

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TOTAL INCONVENIENCE. By requiring passengers to alight from their buses in Bocaue, to wait for bus trips to QC, to rush to buy boarding tickets, to move luggage from one bus to another, surely is not a service that people deserve from their government.

This scheme also only needlessly exposes passengers to another crowded terminal when the minimum heath protocol is for persons to keep a safe distance from each other.  By forcing passengers to disembark, they will inevitably have to rush out to the terminals’ ticketing, stand in line for their immediate transfer to QC while lugging their packages with them.  They may also have to require assistance to carry their luggage, another expense that’s reserved for arrival in QC.  

Not even a promised comfortable terminal with TV sets can make up for the imposition of total inconvenience of being made to transfer to other buses.    

The scheme cannot even be justified to serve EDSA traffic volume because the number of buses from Bulacan carrying passengers from provinces cannot be any less than the number of buses carrying passengers from Pangasinan.  So, profit can only be the motive for this scheme. And the provincial government must protest this.  

Paging President Duterte. Your DOTr is doing everything to exploit your popular support for profit at your expense!

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DOUBLE-KILL FOR CORRUPTION. In Dagupan City, it appears the Brian Lim administration is keen on leaving a legacy as the administration that uses the city’s ordinances for illegal fund-raising for the barkada.

Thanks to the city ordinance and DILG directive requiring sidewalks cleared of vendors, the Lim administration is able to collect unregulated daily fees from vendors illegally occupying sidewalks in the business district area. The Christmas baratillo season is long over but the public areas around the market continue to teem with vendors.

Mayor Lim, smart that he is, even went through the motion of clearing sidewalks as directed by DILG with a twist – he deceived DILG by simply moving vendors on the sidewalk fronting the CSI Square back to the parking area by the sidewalk.  Neat huh? After the DILG inspection, he had the “cleared” sidewalk area re-occupied with new set of vendors while keeping the relocated vendors in the parking area. How much the Lim administration is pocketing in daily rent in the two areas: the parking area and the sidewalk, is anyone’s guess!

Smart enterprising illegal move by Mayor Lim. He may have outwitted both the DILG and the city government for the barkada’s racket, but these will soon explode in his face, politically.

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KILLING THE CITY RIVERS. Then there is the city ordinance against fish pens to protect the rivers against pollution and to minimize flooding in the city.  

And what do Dagupeños see? A slow drive along the JDV Expressway through the Pantal Bridge alone shows how much the Lim barkada in his administration is pocketing for allowing illegal fish pens to proliferate in and around the city’s rivers.   

There must already be over 1,000 illegal fish pens killing the city’s rivers. Since the government cannot collect fees for violation without demolishing the illegal structures, people are wondering how much is being collected from daily/monthly tong from the illegal fish pen operators.  

Then we have the delivery of bangus from Bulacan and other bangus raising towns, past their daily allocations. If you’re wondering who’s checking to protect the Dagupan bangus industry, don’t bother. The ordinance that was passed allowed that loophole for the violations to go on unchecked. All it takes is for the agriculture office to sleep through the night and early morning using the quarantine as alibi. 

So, there goes the integrity of the Dagupan bangus brand – the inferior alien bangus that otherwise would not sell as much are now legally passed off as Dagupan bangus, thanks to the legacy of corruption of the Lim administration.

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OUR YOUTH’S DILEMMA. Here’s something to wonder and worry about our pandemic-driven distance learning policy today.  Following is a report on a research study on the imposed distance-learning in USA published in New York Times last week.

“As students in some parts of the United States approach nearly a year without in-person school, new research suggests that the reading skills of young children have suffered during the pandemic.

The research, a preliminary national study from the group Policy Analysis for California Education, found that as of late fall, second graders were 26 percent behind where they would have been, absent the pandemic, in their ability to read aloud accurately and quickly. Third graders were 33 percent behind.

Those differences were equivalent to being able to read seven to eight fewer words per minute accurately….

The new study relied on audio recordings of one to two minutes, from 98,000 children in 111 school districts across 22 states. The samples were collected by Literably, an online assessment tool. School buildings in the districts included in the study were more likely to be fully or partly closed than those in the average American district.

Crucially, the students lost the expected reading gains in the spring of 2020, when schools abruptly shut down at the outset of the pandemic. Students resumed improving their reading skills in the fall, suggesting schools and teachers improved in their ability to deliver instruction online or in hybrid learning. But those gains were insufficient to make up for the previous losses.”

Having read that, one wonders how this generation’s young learners have fared in the past 12 months. The most worrisome news we read about our country’s first national exposure to distance-learning are reports that parents who could not help their children with their studies have been paying for help with the test modules without care if their children learned anything or not.

Obviously, they didn’t learn anything. Worse, DepEd obviously had no choice but to report that more than 90% passed and completed their requirements.

I hope the President Duterte will give the go-signal soon to start the face-to-face pilot classes soon to segue to opening of classrooms for teaching. It should begin to go hand in hand in opening the economy with a MGCQ status.

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