Saturday, June 26, 2010

Lontoc ‘rushing’ contracts, projects

ACTING Transportation Secretary Anneli Lontoc is reportedly fast-tracking a multimillion-peso contract with Stradcom Corp. to pursue the Land Transportation Office (LTO)-Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) interconnectivity tie-up before her term ends on June 30.

Transportation department sources said the multimillion-peso contract is being rushed because of Lontoc’s order to LTO chief Alberto Suansing and newly installed LTFRB Chairman Jimmy Pesigan.

Lontoc allegedly wants to finalize the deal by June 24, despite the absence of public bidding for the multimillion-peso contract.

The source said both the LTO and the LTFRB are using perennial transport problems, such as the operation of colorum vehicles, “out of line” for-hire vehicles and kotong activities by some law enforcers to justify the interconnectivity contract.

The two agencies claimed that such malpractices will be curbed if the interconnectivity tie-up were implemented.

Aside from the multimillion-peso interconnectivity contract, Lontoc is also reportedly rushing the printing of a Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) coffee-table book costing P700,000, which a ranking DOTC official said “is a memento of Lontoc’s vanity.”

Lontoc is also reportedly angry with officials of the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) for deferring the implementation of the 250-percent toll increase at the South Luzon Expressway (Slex) that the board authorized in a recent decision.

The increase in toll rates at the Slex stirred a hornet’s nest among motorists and transportation operators.

Bus operators who use the expressway are assailing the rate increase and are poised to seek a temporary restraining order to the TRB before the Regional Trial Court in Makati .

A few weeks ago, Lontoc was reminded by Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines (PBOAP) officials on the so-called midnight bus franchises after some LTFRB official were implicated in the said anomaly, which involved the “resurrection” of long-dormant franchise petition already archived.

The “dead” franchise petitions are reportedly being revived and peddled allegedly for big sums of money.

“Reviving archived franchise petitions and processing them for issuance of franchises are violative of the Public Service Law and the Antigraft and Corrupt Practices Act,” the Pboap letter to Lontoc said."

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