Vice mayor Duterte cautions ‘uso-uso’ drivers

DAVAO City–Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte has vowed to go after the “uso-uso” jeepneys plying Davao City’s long distance routes.

At a press briefing Tuesday at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, Duterte said he will ride a jeepney “incognito” to observe the traffic violations committed by erring drivers.

“Your mayor (Rodrigo Duterte) is not the only one who disguises himself. He is not the only one with a wig. If I make it alive to Toril riding your jeeps [and you commit violations], you are in trouble,” he said.

The mayor had admitted to driving a taxi during nighttime as part of his anti-crime drive. His photo driving a taxi has gone viral on social media sites.

The younger Duterte issued the warning against uso-uso jeepneys following the recent suspension of 15 units of Bachelor Express Inc., after one of its buses figured in an accident on August 26 that left four people dead.

The Bachelor bus encroached the opposite lane and collided with a Toyota Lite Ace Van at the national highway in Barangay Lasang here.

The vice mayor urged passengers to refrain from riding uso-uso jeepneys to avoid endangering their lives.

Uso-uso jeepneys are packed with powerful engines to run faster and are normally equipped with a loud speaker system to attract younger passengers.

Duterte also asked leaders of organizations such as the Transmission-Piston to police their own ranks so fatal road incidents can be avoided.

In a phone interview, Transmission-Piston spokesperson Edil Gonzaga said that “100 percent of their members know the rules and have been oriented by the organization.

“The drivers know that they are an important part of the economy, and they are continuously being disciplined,” he said.

Edgar Violan, spokesperson of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in Region XI, said that passengers riding public utility vehicles such as jeepneys, taxis and vans should be vigilant and immediately report to them those violating traffic laws, such as overspeeding and overloading.

In a related development, LTFRB-Xl director Rodrigo Riola said that a meeting is slated today (Wednesday) between representatives of Bachelor Express and other concerned government agencies regarding the deadly accident last August 26.

Riola said a show cause order has been issued to Bachelor Express on August 27 to appear before the board.

On Tuesday, Riola and his team went to the Bachelor Express garage to check if the company implemented the order to suspend 15 units.

Reporters were shown photos of the buses with suspension notices on their front bumpers, and were told that the batteries were disconnected from the units, in compliance to the LTFRB notice of hearing dated August 27.

Riola assured that movement of people and goods in the Davao-Mati route remain normal since there are other companies and passenger vans servicing it.

Councilor Leonardo Avila III, chair of the city council’s transportation committee, said he received reports that the plates of the suspended buses would also be removed.

But the photos shown to reporters still had the buses with their plates on, although the notices were on the front bumpers.

“When you are given a franchise, it’s not a right, it’s a privilege. Privilege has responsibilities. You are bringing public transportation to commuters. It’s your responsibility to maintain your units and follow rules or else that privilege will be removed from you,” Avila told reporters. (MindaNews)

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