Roamer's Roundup

Roundup Bits: Fare Rollbacks, Airport Makeovers, and Posh Prison Cells

Time for another Roamer’s Roundup as we look as some of the interesting news bits happening in the metropolis recently:

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Six months after a fare increase was implemented, news came out that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has approved a provisional P1 fare rollback effective Friday, citing developments regarding dropping global oil prices.

(image courtesy of Blogmanila)

It was a surprising piece of news, but nevertheless it was welcomed by commuters as a Christmas present of sorts that would somehow relieve them of those skyrocketing daily expenses.

As for the jeepney operators, some have welcomed the move though they also asked for a lower boundary rate as well so as not to affect their income. Others though saw this move by the LTFRB as illegal as no fare matrices were issued. The LTFRB countered however that fare matrix is not necessary as the rollback was only a provisionary one.

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In an effort to let everyone know that something is being done to improve what was being called by some as “the worst airport in the world,” the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) recently released some photos of the ongoing rehabilitation work being done at the Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

(courtesy of the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)
(courtesy of the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)
(courtesy of the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)
(courtesy of the Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines)

Judging from the photos, I would have to give it to them credit for doing a decent job in the rehabilitation. Then again, I have never been inside Terminal 1 since I’ve been mostly a Terminal 3 guy so far in my flights. Let’s just wait and see when the rehabilitation is completed by May next year. Hopefully, we won’t hear horror stories of broke-down equipment and hassle-inducing moments which brings shame to our nation’s premier gateway. This is the best face we have to show to visitors as far as first impressions are concerned.

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Finally, what could be the biggest and hottest story that hit the metropolis this week that came about from a surprise inspection by the Department of Justice (DOJ) along with elements from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) and the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) of the jail cells of convicted druglords at the New Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa.

While many of the country’s prison cells are overcrowded and are in deplorable conditions, it’s not the case for these druglords’ prison cells as they are all airconditioned, fully furnished, and boasts of amenities such as a jacuzzi in one, a hi-fi system in another, even provisions for a private office.

this is not a rehearsal studio but a New Bilibid prison cell (courtesy of Inquirer)
a jacuzzi in another prison cell (screengrab from Interaksyon/News5)
expensive gadgets and other items, even loads of cash were found in another cell (courtesy of Manila Bulletin)

What’s even more galling to discover were loads of cash in different currencies, as well as drugs being kept, an indication that these felons are still able to do their dirty business even while behind bars and serving a life sentence.

There have been rumors of such posh cells existing in the prison but this pretty much confirms what was long a subject of speculation. The bigger question now is how these things were able to get past the prison authorities…that is, unless they do not only tolerate it but benefit from them as well.

Interestingly, this news comes in the light of the plans to have the New Bilibid Prisons transferred up north to a larger area in Laur, Nueva Ecija in a few years’ time. This would free up much of the existing 300-hectare Muntinlupa facility for commercial development while the government will still keep 50-70 hectares for the construction of a Bureau of Corrections academy and a DOJ academy that will train correctional officers, investigating agents, and prosecutors.

Here’s hoping the future New Bilibid in Nueva Ecija will have less of the posh cells the privileged few only enjoy and create a more equal and humane place for these prisoners regardless of status.

(courtesy of newsflash.org)

And to whoever will develop the Muntinlupa property once it is sold, they will have their work cut out for them as they try to at least match the amenities some of the prisoners there were enjoying.

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