Van-for-hire drivers to return to Citilink terminal only upon Rama’s order

May B. Miasco/ATO (The Freeman) - September 24, 2015 - 10:00am

CEBU, Philippines - While the One Citilink Terminal has been reopened last Wednesday, drivers and operators of south-bound van-for-hires decided not to transfer back to the terminal unless the Cebu City government gives them the directive.

Rex Baldonado, vice chairman of the Toledo V-hire Transport Cooperative, said they will have to wait for instructions from Mayor Michael Rama, who temporarily placed the v-hire operators at the open space fronting the Compania Maritima near the Cebu City Hall.

“Nanginahanglan mi og order niya (Rama) jud bisan naa pa ang court order. Dili mi basta basta nga mobalhin dinhi unless og wala’y order niya (Rama,)” he told reporters yesterday.

The management of the One Citilink Terminal reopened the facility after the Regional Trial Court granted a writ of preliminary injunction to the terminal’s management, resulting to the resumption of terminal operations Wednesday afternoon.

The terminal was closed two months ago by the city government upon recommendation of the Terminal Accreditation Committee as it allegedly failed to secure a permit from the mayor.

Romeo Santillan, a driver and operator of a V-hire plying the Cebu-Toledo route, expressed the same sentiment.

“Magpaabot jud mi sa desisyon sa mayor nga okay na mi mobalhin didto tungod kay siya man gud nagpahimutang namo sa SRP (South Road Properties) mao nga among respetaran ang mayor,” said Santillan.

Among other concerns, the drivers also fear that they will be penalized if found operating at the terminal.

 “Ang luoy ani kay ang pasahero tungod kay mabuang man sila og pinangita namo,” said Premer Paran, a V-hire driver travelling the Cebu-Sibonga route.

“Dili na lang pud mi mobalhin kay panakpon unya mi… Lisod man pud moadto mi didto (terminal,) ingon sila nga okay na pero inig gawas namo dakpon unya mi sa violation nga illegal terminal unya no entry pa baya didto, wala pa kuhaa (ang signage),” he said further.

Paran calculated that the penalty, which may amount to P6,000, for operating in an “illegal terminal” is already equivalent to his average weekly income.  The v-hire drivers and operators were informed on September 30 of the court order by Felipe Barrientos Jr., the terminal’s general manager.

Barrientos said the terminal has been opened at 3 p.m. on September 23 after OCTI President Albert Lim signaled him to resume their operations following the court order.

“Naay mga upat ka vehicles nga nagstandby, naghuwat og pasahero. Naay mosulod-mogawas, nagpaniid lang ba kay mahadlok madakpan. Ready na jud mi, standby lang mi daan,” he said.

“We informed the drivers already that there is a court order… Sa pagkakaron, naay drivers nga nagstandby pa lang, huwat sa pasahero,” he added.

Rama said the terminal management may resume its operations, but he is asking the management not to force the drivers to transfer.

Rama was also glad that the drivers “have seen the nobility” of his intentions.

“I’m going to have a meeting with them. I’d like to thank all of them because I do not want to be quarreling with the judge,” he told reporters yesterday.

Rama is sticking to his plan to decentralize terminals and alleviate the city’s traffic problem.

“The thrust of the world on urbanization is bringing terminals away from the middle or from the heart of the city. If we still have all the terminals in the road and terminals in the gasoline stations, the more we would be in traffic havoc because all will just have to converge in one area,” he said.  (FREEMAN)

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