By Christopher Lloyd Caliwan

NO SACRED COWS. Authorities arrest suspects Jaz Abalos and Antonio Mirasol in an entrapment at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority main office in Pasig City on April 11, 2024. Abalos, who claimed to be a niece of Interior and Local Government Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr., went to the MMDA office to “negotiate” for the release of her van caught with expired registration. (Photo courtesy of MMDA)

MANILA – Local government units (LGUs) must pass ordinances banning operators of “colorum” vehicles from using transport terminals within their jurisdictions, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benhur Abalos Jr. said on Saturday.

In a news release, Abalos said he issued Memorandum Circular 2024-26 following the recent arrest of a certain Jaz Abalos, who claimed to be the DILG chief’s niece and attempted to negotiate with Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) enforcers who caught her with an expired van registration.

“This has been a persistent issue on the ground. I am directing our LGUs na tiyaking hindi makapag-operate ang mga colorum operators na ito (to ensure that colorum operators could not operate),” he said.

Under the circular, LGUs are directed “to ensure that all operating public transportation services must have appropriate franchises or certificates of public convenience (CPC) from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), before they are allowed to use transport terminals and ply their routes.”

The LGUs are likewise ordered to conduct inspections of public utility vehicles in terminals within their jurisdiction and along local roads through checkpoints, and report colorum operators to the LTFRB and the Land Transportation Office (LTO).

LGUs should promulgate more rigid regulations against unlicensed vehicles and their illegal operations based on LTFRB and Department of Transportation guidelines, and identify other measures in safeguarding public transportation.

“At the end of the day, ang safety ng ating mga pasahero ang ating gustong mabantayan dito kaya napakahalaga na manguna ang ating mga LGU upang matigil ang operasyon ng mga colorum operators na ito (we want to ensure the safety of our passengers, that’s why it’s important for our LGUs to spearhead the crackdown on operators of colorum vehicles, and stop their operations once and for all),” Abalos said. (PNA)