LTFRB Probes Suspension Of Ceres Trips

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is investigating the suspension of the south-bound bus trips of Vallacar Transit Inc. (VTI), the operator of Ceres Liner and Ceres Tours, in Negros Occidental.

“Even though operations have resumed (by Thursday), to avoid such thing from happening again, we will have it investigated. I will go to Bacolod,” said LTFRB-Western Visayas Regional Director Richard Osmeña in a radio interview.

Osmeña said that he talked to both camps of the Yanson family on Wednesday afternoon, and warned them not to let their infighting affect the riding public.

“I also issued a statement, that if this will continue, (on Thursday) noon, an ultimatum, I will recommend to the central office to cancel the franchise and ask the government to take over because the (welfare of) the riding public is important,” he said.

As of Thursday evening, trips were still limited since not all bus units were able to park at the south-bound terminal, where some 380 buses are assigned.

Earlier in the day, Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson appealed to the Yanson family to ensure that bus trips in Negros Occidental will not be suspended again amid the intra-corporate dispute.

“I’m calling on the family, don’t let this happen again because this is what you assured us from the very beginning. All Negrenses are banking on that commitment. I hope it will be the last. Please solve your issues amicably because it’s really the whole Negros that is being affected,” said Lacson, who is the partner of Emily Yanson, one of the six Yanson siblings involved in the family feud.

The halting of bus trips on Wednesday, announced by one of the owners, Celina Yanson, was supposedly to ensure the safety of passengers. It was among the latest developments in the much-publicized conflict among the Bacolod-based Yanson family, who owns Vallacar Transit and four other firms under the Yanson Group of Bus Companies, the country’s biggest bus firm.

Four Yanson siblings, including Roy, Ricardo Jr., Celina, and Emily, are at odds with their younger brother Leo Rey, whom they ousted as company president and replaced with Roy during a special board meeting held on July 7. Their mother Olivia and younger sister Ginnette are siding with Leo Rey.

The court has yet to decide whether the July 7 event was legal or not.

On Tuesday, the Philippine National Police (PNP) Supervisory Office on Security and Investigation Agencies (SOSIA), represented by Col. Jaime Santos, chief of the Enforcement Management Division, attempted to serve the order signed by Colonel Michael John Dubria, chief of PNP SOSIA, directing the blue guards of AY-76 Security Specialists Inc. to vacate the premises of the VTI main office in Mansilingan village, and the Ceres Bacolod South Terminal on Lopez Jaena Street.

Last month, Roy Yanson dismissed the services of AGNSA Negros Security Agency and hired AY-76 as the replacement.

On August 2, Dubria issued an order “finding the deployment of security guards of AY-76 Security Specialists Inc. at the properties of VTI, particularly at the south and north terminal and its main office, all in Bacolod City, not in compliance with the provisions of the PNP-SOP No. 007-08.”

To ease the tension that arose between the two camps when he attempted to serve the order, Santos directed both security guards of AY-76 and AGNSA to leave the main office and the south terminal, and asked the Bacolod City Police Office to secure both areas until the situation will normalize.

At dawn of Wednesday, police personnel led by city director Col. Henry Biñas entered the south terminal and installed the AGNSA blue guards, and more than 100 policemen kept watch at the terminal.

Around 6 a.m., the announcement came that south-bound trips will be cancelled as Roy and Celina Yanson were holed up at the terminal office.

On Wednesday night, the camp of Leo Rey Yanson announced that trips will resume by midnight and offered free rides to south-bound passengers, including those traveling to as far as Cebu, until noon of Thursday.

Between Thursday noon and midnight of the same day, commuters were supposed to pay half of the fare already, but the free ride was extended until midnight on Thursday since a lot of passengers were still stranded. (PNA)

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