MANILA — Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has relieved the employees and personnel assigned at the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in Nueva Vizcaya province following reports of extortion activities while conducting law enforcement operations.
The complaints on alleged corrupt practices from rice traders and truckers have reached President Rodrigo Duterte during the rice industry stakeholders meeting in Malacanang Palace on Thursday.
The President immediately called Tugade who instructed LTO Chief Asec. Edgar Galvante to swiftly execute a relieve order to employees and personnel assigned at the LTO Bayombong District Office and Aritao Extension Office.
The relieve order dated Friday, April 6, was issued by LTO Regional Director Romeo Sales upon instructions from Galvante.
Sales also directed the cancellation of deputation orders and temporary operator’s permit (TOPs) issued to DPWH personnel manning the weigh bridge in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya.
Several LTO personnel in the province earn as much as PHP1 million a day from over a thousand trucks from Cagayan Valley bringing agricultural products out of the region, according to rice traders and truckers.
“Hindi ako mag-aalaga ng mga anay sa hanay ko. Dati ko pang sinasabi sa inyo, ayaw na ayaw ng Pangulong Duterte ng korapsyon. Sa aksyon o persepsyon, ayaw namin ng korapsyon. Hindi ako nagbibiro, hindi ako magdadalawang isip na yariin kayo,” Tugade said in a statement.
“Sa mga rice trader at truckers, wag kayo mag-alala. Tuturuan natin ng leksyon ang mga siraulong ‘yan para masigurong maayos kayong makapagnegosyo. Kung may mga reklamo kayo sa iba pang opisyales o kawani ng DOTr, ‘wag kayong mangingiming ipaalam sa akin,” he added.
For his part, Galvante expressed his support to the drive of Duterte and Tugade to curb corruption in government.
“Buong-buo, 100 percent po ang suporta ko sa Pangulo at kay Secretary Tugade sa paglilinis ng hanay ng LTO. Nararapat lang na tanggalin ang mga taong nakasisira ng imahe ng LTO. Habang kami’y pagod na pagod kakatrabaho upang maisalba ang reputasyon ng ahensya, ito namang mga pasaway na ito ay walang tigil sa paggawa ng kalokohan. Nararapat lang na tuldukan na natin ito,” Galvante said.
A new set of LTO officials and employees were designated in acting capacity to temporarily take over LTO Bayombong District Office and Aritao Extension Office. Aerol John Pateña/PNA-northboundasia.com