Thursday, April 20, 2017
SAN JOSE, Antique – Tricycle drivers in this capital town were being accused of charging delegates of the 60th Palarong Pambansa with exorbitant fares.
Antique is hosting the national sporting event for the first time from April 23 to 29.
Some of the delegates started arriving even before the Holy Week and found tricycle fares disproportionate to the distances they traveled within San Jose.
The minimum tricycle fare around barangays 1 to 8, Atabay, and Madrangca is P8 per passenger but some delegates claimed they were charged P50 each.
Sometimes they would pay as much as P150 to P300, depending on the distance, the locals interviewed by this reporter said.
The interviewees requested anonymity.
The provincial government under Gov. Rhodora Cadiao aggressively pushed for the hosting, citing its benefits to the province’s tourism and economy.
Some Palaro delegates would keep asking how much the tricycle fare is. Others find traveling around the capital town “very expensive,” according to some locals, mostly teachers in billeting schools.
A Philippine News Agency report cited a complaining official from the Bicol Region. The official was asked to pay P100 from the town proper to their billeting school in Barangay San Pedro when the regular fare was just P12 per passenger.
Ronaldo F. Villanueva, president of the Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association of San Jose de Buenavista, said he felt embarrassed by such reports.
Villanueva found it incredible that some tricycles would overcharge, especially that they had a dialogue with drivers and operators and were reminded of their social responsibilities.
They were warned against violating traffic ordinances and overcharging. Likewise, they were encouraged to be warm, helpful and welcoming to the Palaro delegates and guests, the transport leader said.
Police encouraged the Palaro delegates to report to them if they were being charged with exorbitant tricycle fares.
Such practice among drivers cannot be tolerated, stressed Superintendent Norby Escobar, municipal police chief.
The delegates were urged to get the body number of the unscrupulous driver’s tricycle and call the San Jose police station hotline 09279181360.
Drivers and operators of tricycles proven to be engaged in overcharging may lose their driver’s license and franchise, Escobar warned.
The local government under Mayor Elmer Untaran is also advising the public to be wary of tricycle fare overcharging.
A vehicle equipped with a public announcement sound system is making rounds in the town, informing about the new traffic ordinance and encouraging the reporting of unscrupulous drivers.
Municipal Ordinance No. 03-2016 prohibits parking along the national highway and regulates passenger loading/unloading.
The weeklong Palarong Pambansa will see athletes from 18 regions in the Philippines compete in various sporting events./PN