by Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) accosted a bus company for reportedly discriminating and refusing to convey an Igorot passenger last Monday in Pangasinan.
The agency demanded an explanation from Solid North Transit, Inc. after photos circulating on social media showed the alleged act of discriminating against a member of a tribal minority.
Photos attributed to a certain Facebook user Dhrins Napeek went viral, alleging the driver and conductor of a Solid North bus refused to let the elderly passenger in Igorot costume into the bus in Calasiao, Pangasinan.
Napeek has taken down his original post but his photos were fetched by a local page and had been shared by more than 136,000 users, reaching the attention of the LTFRB. The post also garnered negative comments against the bus company for reportedly being racist.
In a separate post later, Napeek said he took photos of the Igorot, who was waiting for a ride in Calasiao around 1 p.m. Monday.
Napeek, who is also of Igorot descent, said he approached the old man who told him that he was headed to Rosales.
“Ang alam ko po kasi kaya hindi siya pinasakay ay on the way siya sa Baguio… Pero sabi niya pupunta siya sa Villasis o Rosales… so tama po yung sasakyan niya (I thought he was not allowed to board the bus because he was going to Baguio; but he said he was headed for Villasis or Rosales, so he was taking the right bus),” narrated Napeek.
While Napeek failed to capture the bus’ plate number, the LTFRB said the incident, if proven true, is a violation of the conditions of the Certificate of Public Convenience and its Memorandum Circular 2011-004.
The LTFRB said they are now investigating the report. They gave Solid North Transit, Inc., until April 30 to submit their written explanation to their Central Office in Quezon City.