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Auteur Topic: Bus line to stop Cotabato City-Kabacan route due to extortion  (gelezen 1168 keer)
Freddy
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« Gepost op: Maart 30, 2008, 03:06:16 »

Sunday, 30 March 2008
Bus line to stop Cotabato City-Kabacan route due to extortion
MindaNews   
Saturday, 29 March 2008 10:25
KIDAPAWAN CITY (MindaNews / March 28) – Due to security threats and extortion problems, the biggest bus company in North Cotabato has announced it will not ply the route between Cotabato City and Kabacan in North Cotabato starting Tuesday, April 1.

Eddie Soledad, manager of the Peoples' Transport, the lone interprovincial bus company
operating in North Cotabato, said their buses will ply only the Davao City to Kabacan in North Cotabato route.

Formerly known as the Weena Bus, the People’s Transport, normally serves the Davao City-Cotabato City route, a six-hour trip.

The management’s decision will affect thousands of commuters along the 86-kilometer Kabacan to Cotabato City route -- from the Maguindanao towns of Pagalungan and Datu Montawal, North Cotabato towns of Pikit, Aleosan, Midsayap, Libungan, Pigcawayan and Pigcalagan; Sultan Kudarat in Shariff Kabunsuan (formerly Maguindanao) and Cotabato City.

Passengers in Cotabato City who are bound for Kabacan or the cities of Kidapawan, Digos and Davao, will have to take other means of transportation – vans or jeeps – to Kabacan. Passengers bound for Kidapawan, Digos and Davao cities from the affected Cotabato  City to Kabacan route, can take the bus only from Kabacan.

Passengers in Davao City who are bound for Cotabato City will have to stop in Kabacan and take another means of transport to Cotabato City.

Soledad issued the announcement despite appeals from the private sector, including the business chamber, to reconsider its move.

Soledad said the company has lost millions from mulcting and extortion within the stretch of this highway, including the refusal of some passengers to pay their fare.

When asked to pay, Soledad said “these passengers would threaten the drivers and the bus conductors.” In fact, many of these drivers and other bus employees were either shot or
bombed, he added.

He said the company was losing not less than P200,000 a month from non-payment of
passengers in this Shariff Kabunsuan-North Cotabato route.

Last year, at least 10 buses owned by Peoples Transport were subjected to highway robberies and bombings, including the worst incidents last year in a public terminal in Matalam when two of its buses were badly damaged by improvised explosive device (IED) planted in one of the two buses. 

Another bus was also bombed at the bus terminal in Cotabato City, in May 2007.

“These problems had been pestering the management many, many years ago,” said Soledad. “However, no concrete actions were taken by the government to resolve the issues.”

Boy dela Fuente, private secretary of Cotabato City Mayor Muslimin Sema, said the decision of the People’s Transport ”violated its franchise”.

Soledad, however, said the company “is not closing its doors.”
“The management might reconsider its move if the local government units (LGUs) in the affected towns would impose safety measures to secure the passengers and their employees,” Soledad said.

“This is to protect the lives, not only of our drivers and bus conductors, but the riding public as well,” he said.  (MindaNews)
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« Antwoord #1 Gepost op: Maart 30, 2008, 08:30:39 »

Misschien een cd tje afspelen tijdens de rit.
De film van Wilders bijvoorbeeld.
Het is toch te gek voor woorden eigenlijk, de gewone mensen zijn weer de pineut.
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Als je met pensioen bent kan je nooit meer een vrije dag aanvragen.
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« Antwoord #2 Gepost op: April 03, 2008, 01:51:40 »

Terrorism along the Cotabato highway
Ricochet By Rene Ezpeleta Bartolo

Weena, the only bus company that plies the Davao-Kidapawan-Cotabato
route, will stop its operations in a sizable portion of that route
starting tomorrow, April 1.

The management of Weena Bus Company announced the decision last week,
citing six reasons for the decision.

These reasons have been hurting the bus company and draining its
resources for some time now, according to Eddie Soledad, officer-in-
charge of the company.

Beginning Tuesday, Weena buses will travel only up to Kabacan in
North Cotabato, cutting transportation in nine towns of three
Cotabato provinces – from Montawal in Maguindanao to Cotabato City.

Affected municipalities are Montawal and Pagalungan in Maguindanao;
Pikit, Aleosan, Midsayap, Libungan and Pigkawayan in North Cotabato;
Sultan Kudarat in Shariff Kabunsuan; and Cotabato City.

Weena Bus Company has provided transportation to people commuting to
and from Davao, Kidapawan, and Cotabato cities for decades. Recently,
a number of its buses were bombed, killing passengers and bus
personnel.

Bernardo Valdevieso, owner of the company, has complained to
authorities that the reason for the violence against Weena was the
company's refusal to pay "taxes" or extortion money to rebel forces
and armed groups infesting the towns along the Cotabato highway.

Weena officials said they are closing the route from Kabacan to
Cotabato City because of the following reasons:

Unabated bombing threats;

Increasing extortion letters; Passengers who take the bus and refuse
to pay;

Colorum (unregistered and unlicensed) vans traveling the same route
and posing unfair competition to the bus company;

Excessive terminal fees in towns along the way which have no terminal
buildings;

Unusual and unexplained apprehension by elements of the Land
Transportation Office (LTO) and the Land Transportation Franchising
and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Among the many bus companies servicing Mindanao – Yellow Bus, Rural
Transit, Bachelor, to name a few – Weena has been most heavily
subjected to threats and extortion, with a number of their buses
actually bombed in the past few years.

Government authorities have not solved any of the bombings or
apprehended any extortionist.

The wishy-washy pursuit of peace in the ARMM provinces has placed the
towns in a state of silent siege. This situation has given birth to a
new breed of passengers who take the bus and terrorize the driver or
the conductor with a scarf or a head tunic.

That innocent piece of cloth convey the symbolic message that the
wearer is a rebel or a member of some armed band and is not to be
charged with bus fare.

The conductor cannot demand, or raise the issue of the bus fare for
fear of losing his life there and then, or have his bus ambushed at
some future time.

Colorum vans have long been an issue in the highways of Mindanao. But
government authorities, like the LTFRB and traffic police, who are
supposed to apprehend these illegal passenger vehicles can be made to
turn a blind eye or a deaf ear with a surreptitious peso.

Economic life in the towns affected by the Weena decision will be
seriously affected.

Commuters who travel to Cotabato, Kidapawan, or Davao to work will
find themselves stranded along the highway.

Goods and products from these towns are mostly transported to market
in buses. This time, they will have to lie and rot.

The Weena buses have been part of the life of these towns for
decades. Tomorrow, the bus company will bend to the terrorism along
the Cotabato highway.

Bomb threats and extortion are terrorist activities. So is the
arrogance of refusing to pay fare through symbolic threat.

The failure of government to put peace and order along the highway;
the refusal of concerned authorities to implement laws that ensure
franchisee rights, or the refusal to apprehend violators – these are
acts of terrorism, too.

They are terrorism by default.
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