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LTFRB eases RORO bus rules for Visayas routes

Manila, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has allowed provincial roll-on roll off (RORO) buses to serve commuters in calamity-stricken areas in the Visayas who would like to travel outside of their provinces to seek respite from the devastation brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda.

LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez said the agency will issue special permits to RORO buses with routes coming from Metro Manila to areas in the Visayas and Mindanao regions to ferry distressed residents who would like to immediately leave their areas to join their relatives in other parts of the country.

Ginez said the RORO buses would also be able to serve Metro Manila residents who would like to travel to their hometowns to personally check on their relatives. The lack of communication and electricity in the Visayas has made it difficult for Filipinos to check on the status of their loved ones in the provinces.

“Nais po naming bigyan ng paraan upang makapunta sa mga nasalantang lugar ang mga mamamayan po nating nandito sa kamaynilaan at malaman ang kalagayan ng kanilang mga kamag-anakan na sinalanta ng bagyong Yolanda,” Ginez said.

The issuance of special RORO bus permits stemmed from the instruction of Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya to LTFRB to help residents of affected areas, particularly in Leyte, Samar, Cebu and Davao, leave ‘ground zero’ until situation returns to normal condition.

Ginez said that with the issuance of the special RORO permits, additional public utility bus units will be deployed in the affected areas once the roads become passable to vehicles.

“Eto po ang panahon para tayo’y magtulungan at bigyan ng daan ang ating mga kababayang nasalanta na makasama ang kanilang mga kamag-anakan sa ibang lugar kaya naman po magdadagdag ang LTFRB sa direktiba ng DOTC ng mga pambublikong sasakyan patungo at pabalik sa mga apektadong lugar,” Ginez added.

Ginez said that public land transportation in the Visayas has been affected because public utility vehicle operators are victims of the calamity as well. As of press time, the LTFRB Central Office is yet to establish communication with their regional offices and check on the status of public transportation there.

He added that the LTFRB will not sanction PUV operators who could not provide public transportation services, considering that that “everyone is a victim including the operators.”