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Bohol transport coop chair urges ‘colorum tourist van’ drivers to go legal

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Nov. 13 (PIA) -- A key tourism transport official here invited colorum transport operators who are moonlighting in tour transport to legalize their business by joining the cooperative.

Bohol Transport Cooperative Chair Joselino Jojo Baritua said they can help by making their operations legal.

Speaking during the Kapihan sa PIA recnelty, Baritua, who also sits as Provincial Tourism Council Tourist Transport Committee head, revealed that of the over 500 units of vehicles operating from over 30 Department of Tourism (DOT) accredited tourist transport providers, many of them are running their business as usual using private vehicles in their colorum businesses.

In the past, the tension between the DOT-accredited vehicle operators and the colorum vehicle operators caused a rift as colorum vehicle drivers accept tours at a cheap price in unfair competition.

Normally, vehicles obtained at zero downpayment schemes and offered for private use do not get Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board franchise and DOT accreditation.

All they need is to recover the cost of fuel and the day’s driver’s pay.

Moreover, illegal tourist vehicles compete with legal operators through several schemes, scams, and blatant ploys.

“We do not close the doors, kay lahi man gud, probably they have not seen the right group, association or cooperative nga ilang apilan,” said Baritua.

Some of the new players in the tourist transport sector have no idea they would need the LTFRB franchise and DOT accreditation, only to find that there are no more available slots in the cooperatives memberships.

Baritua cites an administrative order and the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines in relation with the Public Utility Vehicles Modernization Program which mandates that a tourist transport operator be granted an LTFRB franchise and DOT accreditation when he can register 10 brand new vehicles for accreditation.

Colorum vehicle owners see this as a major obstacle in registering their units.

The solution then is for these small unit operators to organize themselves and join existing cooperatives, associations or corporations to be assisted to be legally registered.

But then, several registered cooperatives have closed their memberships, and only when a unit could not be registered that a slot opens up, in which case the new member would have to pay the franchise of the exiting member.

The current price is P50,000, according to Baritua.

“Because of this, lots of discouraged players are now operating without accreditation,” he said.

A cheaper option for these individual private vehicle owners is to join us at Bohol Transport Coop with a minimal membership of P500, he added.

Should a colorum vehicle meet an accident, without the insurance coverage for vehicles for hire, the tourist can get short-changed on insurance claims and compensation.

“In the coop, we have liaisons who would be making sure all members’ vehicle documents are in order, franchise and accreditation active and spare the owners of the hassle of following up registrations, franchise applications and all paperworks,” he promised. 

Seeing a  huge challenge in the  operation of colorum vehicles, he said the sector is working in line with the government’s goal of inclusive economic recovery, and that they can help make things right.

He cautioned tourists and locals to ensure that they are riding a legally compliant transport vehicle.
For the tourist transport players, he urged them to “help protect our industry, because whatever happens, it is the image of Bohol at stake.” (RAHC/PIA7 Bohol)

UNDUE COMPETITION. While many legal tourism vehicle operators see the colorum vehicles as undue competition, Baritua leaves a door open for them to legalize through a cooperative rather than continue their business as usual and then, when accidents happen, passengers’ insurance are denied as these illegally run vehicles are registered as private and not for hire. This would certainly ruin the image of Bohol, says Baritua, who sits as the Tourism Council Tourism Transport Chair. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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Rey Anthony Chiu

Regional Editor

Region 7

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