By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senator Grace Poe has asked anew the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to address issues on the operations of the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX), particularly its exemption of several buses from stopping by the terminal, and its effects to commuters.
Poe wrote DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade on December 19 and appealed to the agency to reconsider some of the policies it implemented regarding the intermodal terminal that was inaugurated last month.
Her office had confirmed to the Manila Bulletin sending the letter to the DOTr.
In her letter, Poe cited points that cropped up during the Senate Committee on Public Services’ December 4 hearing on the matter, such as the lamentation of bus operators about the allegedly favored bus lines that were allowed to bypass the PITX, as well as the claims that the memorandum ordering such scheme was falsified.
She referred to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) Memorandum Circular No. 2018-020, issued in September, which mandated vehicles from south to end their routes at the PITX. The order was withdrawn when the LTFRB, two weeks after the intergrated terminal’s inauguration on November 5, came out with Memorandum Circular No. 2018-022 to implement the supposed exemption of buses following a directive from the DOTr.
DOTr Assistant Secretay Mark de Leon had explained in the hearing that the agency had granted exemptions to 195 buses due to the supposed lack in city buses that would serve passengers, particularly in the Manila area.
Poe, however, noted how the DOTr failed in its foreseeing such factor.
“There was an observation that the DOTr was myopic in its view of contemporaneous transport issues…If the DOTr did proper analysis, it would have foreseen the shortage in city buses,” the senators said in her letter she asked De Leon to also expound on his statement.
Poe, while asking for pertinent documents, urged the DOTr not to “implement any mechanism that would be unfair for small bus operators and will just favor huge stakeholders.”
She said a dry-run of the PITX shall be conducted under the LTFRB’s original memorandum prohibiting all buses from Cavite and Batangas from entering Metro Manila, and not apply the exemption.
Poe likewise asked anew the DOTr to submit the bus terminal schedule it has yet to release following the PITX’s launch.