LTFRB chief warns heads will roll as agency shuns corruption

DAVAO CITY  (PNA) – The Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has warned of a nationwide movement of officials and employees next month as the agency cleanses its ranks amid corruption accusations.

LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra said the board is definitely implementing a movement of employees and directors once he completes consultations and meetings with all regional offices by September.

He said he has already visited the LTFRB offices in the National Capital Region, Regions 1, Northern Luzon, 11 and 12 where he discussed various concerns and issues.

Delgra, who was among the first appointees of the Duterte administration, had been instructed by President Rodrigo Duterte to rid the agency of corruption. Delgra said there is an ongoing investigation within the LTFRB.

He warned that those accused of money-making activities in LTFRB will not go unpunished. He was referring to complaints and information that some of the employees and directors have alliances with fixers inside and outside the agency, especially regarding the application of franchises.

Delgra confirmed that the system and money-making activities within the LTFRB is unimaginable that when he asked employees and officials if Duterte’s statement that it is a corrupt agency is true, he only got a long silence for a response.

He said even former regional directors have links to fixing activities, such that some operators were granted franchises even though the documents they submitted were incomplete.

“We will be fair. We will be feared,” Delgra said, adding that ”we will break the butter”, referring to alleged SOPs for the processing of franchises and other documents.

Lawyer Aileen Lizada-Lopez, a member of the LTFRB Board, said a review of the agency’s work showed spurious decisions made by LTFRB officials.

While she would not refer to a particular regional office, Lopez said one regional office would collect as much as PHP200,000 for one franchise.

She said they are working on improving the system of the LTFRB to cut processing time. She said they are using log books to pinpoint responsibility in the delay of applications.

Review of moratorium

The LTFRB will also conduct a comprehensive review of the 10-year moratorium on the issuance of franchises, which Delgra described as a major source of corruption.

He reminded operators that a franchise must not be sold to other operators because it is a special privilege granted by the government to a specific applicant.

Delgra said a franchise is free and what an operator pays are the administrative costs to apply for franchise.

Delgra said the board has already ordered a stop to the sale and transfer of franchises because they are supposed to be returned to the LTFRB if the vehicles are no longer registered.

On the lifting of the moratorium, Delgra assured that they will level the playing field and no favor will be given to any particular transport group.

He reminded that the clients of LTFRB are not the operators but the riding public.

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