Carpool SUVs apprehended under 'campaign against colorum'
Photo release shows operatives of the PNP-Highway Patrol Group and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic carrying out its campaign against colorum.
Release/Inter-Agency Council for Traffic

Carpool SUVs apprehended under 'campaign against colorum'

Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - December 3, 2020 - 11:38am

MANILA, Philippines — Private SUVs carpooling workers amid the coronavirus pandemic found themselves apprehended by cops and road authorities this week amid a government crackdown on colorum vehicles, or, according to the transportation department, private motor vehicles operating as a PUV but without proper authority from the LTFRB. 

On Wednesday, elements of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic and the national police's Highway Patrol Group impounded 19 vehicles in Calamba and Sta. Rosa as part of "a fortified Anti-Colorum operation."

A separate tweet report by ABS-CBN News showed the same scene on Thursday morning, this time in the Bicutan and Pasay-Makati areas, where passengers were reportedly made to pay P150 for the trips. 

In a statement, transportation assistant secretary Manuel Gonzales said that such practices were a syndicate operation that robbed PUV drivers and were reported by "tips and complaints from concerned netizens and PUV drivers affected by the presence of colorum operators in the area." 

“Colorum activities have become a massive syndicate operation, and parasitical in a way that they indirectly rob the income of actual PUV drivers by posing as illegal competition," said Gonzales, a retired military general who also serves as I-ACT chief. 

"They are neither authorized by the LTFRB to offer transport services to the public, nor are they allowed to exorbitantly charge the way they do," he also said. 

The I-ACT is composed of the Metro Manila Council, the military, the transportation department, the Metro Manila Development Authority, the Land Transportation Office, the LTFRB, the PNP-Highway Patrol Group, and the Liga ng mga Barangay ng Pilipinas. 

READ: Shuttles for workers impounded for 'lack of contract' amid transportation shortage

The inter-agency body already made headlines earlier in July after it apprehended and impounded private shuttles servicing office workers without notarized documents. 

In the absence of mass transportation at the onset of the general community quarantine, Malacañang at the time appealed to the private sector to provide transportation accommodations for its workers for the time being. 

Though the number of public utility vehicles and routes has drastically improved since then, many PUVs and their operators—especially those not participating in the DOTr's service contracting scheme—are still not allowed on the road. 

Data from the i-ACT shows that as of September, over 2,600 colorum vehicles have been impounded amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

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