MALOLOS CITY, Bulacan – At least 28 journalists from Metro Manila, Bulacan and Tarlac were temporarily stranded when the transport hired to ferry them from Quezon City to Alaminos, Pangasinan and back, abandoned them in Pangasinan Friday night.
Ramon Efren Lazaro, president of the Philippine Science Journalists Association—Bulacan chapter, said the journalist were invited to join and cover a provincial sortie of Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato derla Pena and medical mission conducted at the Don Leopoldo Sison Convention Center in Alaminos, Pangasinan by the Sogo Cares Doctors on Wheels of Sogo Hotels.
Lazaro said the events were conducted through the joint efforts of the Mega Manila chapter of the Philippine Science Journalists Association Inc. (PSciJourn), Publishers Association of the Philippines Inc. (PAPI), Kiwanis Club of Hundred Islands, Gerlyn Enorme of Islands Nest Hotel, among others.
He said that Enorme was in charge for the transport service of the 28 journalist, mostly from Metro Manila.
“For reasons beyond comprehensions, Enorme explained to us that she fully paid the transport service for P14,000 on Thursday night based on the official receipt that she showed to some of the journalists who attended the event,” Lazaro added.
On Friday night, Enorme said that the drivers of the two vans of the transport service demanded another P14,000.00 for the trip back home of the journalists which she declined saying the full payment she made covered the trip back to Quezon City and after that the drivers allegedly left and reneged on their alleged service contract to ferry the journalists back home.
Lazaro said they were virtually left groping in the dark since some of his companions have no enough cash to pay for the ride back to Manila.
At least six journalists said they don’t have enough fare to go home. To help them buy bus fare, Nelson Santos, PAPI president, initiated a pass the hat with an initial P500 donation until the needed amount of fare was satisfied, Lazaro said.
He also disclosed that some journalists are contemplating to file charges against the transport service provider. —EMIL G. GAMOS