LTFRB orders: Give transport fare cards for free

THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has ordered operators of public utility vehicles and providers of automatic fare collection systems to stop collecting the card cost from commuters. The transport regulator issued a memorandum circular on Oct. 6 that states: “This Board deems it necessary to order public utility vehicle operators and/or automatic fare collection system providers to remove the cost of their cards.” The order has taken effect immediately. The memo cited fees imposed by AF Payments, Inc. on its Beep cards, which have become “an additional burden to ordinary commuters.” It noted that President Rodrigo R. Duterte had also directed to give out the cards to commuters for free. “Failure of the concerned operator and/or service provider to comply with the issuance shall cause for the immediate suspension of the automatic fare collection system, aside from the penalties to be imposed pursuant to existing issuances of this Board against operators concerned,” the LTFRB said. — Arjay L. Balinbin

Bohol governor asks airlines to offer cheap fares as Panglao airport reopens to commercial flights


BOHOL GOVERNOR Arthur C. Yap appealed to airlines to start offering cheap fares as the province’s international airport in Panglao has reopened for commercial flights starting Oct. 6. “The transporting public has been clamoring for the reopening of regular domestic flights at the BPIA (Bohol Panglao International Airport),” Mr. Yap said in a statement. The airport in previous months had been open only for sweeper and chartered flights, which Mr. Yap acknowledged are more expensive and insufficient for the demand from returning residents. The resumption of domestic flights follows the recent hosting of Bohol of the first hybrid Philippine Travel Exchange PhiTEX (2020). The event generated future bookings for domestic travel, including for the province that is ready for a “gradual” reopening of its tourism industry. “This is in furtherance of our earnest desire to slowly reinstate and bring forward the economy of Bohol,” Mr. Yap said. Documentary requirements as outlined under national guidelines as well as health protocols will be in effect.

Masbate, 2 Samar bays among latest red tide areas

THE BUREAU of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has warned consumers from eating shellfish harvested in the coastal waters of Milagros in Masbate and the coastal waters of Zumarraga and Irong-Irong Bay in Samar after testing positive for red contamination. In its 20th shellfish bulletin, the BFAR said these areas are the latest additions to the growing list of red tide positive zones such as Puerto Princesa Bay in Palawan; coastal waters of Dauis and Tagbilaran City in Bohol; Tambobo and Siit Bays in Siaton and Bais Bay in Negros Oriental. Other areas that are red-tide positive include the coastal waters of Daram Island and San Pedro Bay in Western Samar; Matarinao Bay in Eastern Samar; Balite Bay in Davao Oriental; and Lianga Bay and the coastal waters of Hinatuan in Surigao del Sur. All types of shellfish and Acetes sp. or alamang harvested from these areas are not safe for human consumption, but all other marine species can be eaten with proper handling. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

BoC-Cagayan de Oro crushes P50-M worth of smuggled cigarettes from China


THE BUREAU of Customs (BoC)-Cagayan de Oro office destroyed P50 million worth of cigarettes from China that were “misdeclared” as furnitures or other items. In a statement released on Wednesday, BoC said the 79,800 reams of smuggled cigarettes were crushed on Oct. 2. The illegal goods arrived through various shipments consigned to Fern Freight Enterprises and Dong Yin Industrial Supplies. The accreditation of both companies have been revoked, according to BoC. The Cagayan de Oro BoC office destroyed another 18,000 reams of smuggled cigarettes on Sept. 9.