TUBIGON, Bohol – A riot broke out at the Tubigon port on Tuesday, January 2, 2024, as passengers bound for Cebu City complained about the rampant fixers and scalpers who were selling tickets at exorbitant prices.
According to some passengers, they had to wait in long queues for hours to buy tickets, while others were able to bypass the line by paying P500 to the fixers, who had reserved tickets in advance from the ticket outlets or the employees of the shipping company.
“This notice that no to fixers is useless”, said a female passenger, holding a sign that read “No to Fixers” in front of a ticket booth.
“While others don’t have lunch because they are in line, others simply go straight to the counter,” she added.
Another passenger said that he witnessed how the fixers redeemed the tickets from the counter after paying P500 to another passenger, who had bought them earlier. He said that the original price of the ticket was only P200, but the fixers were selling them for P700 or more, depending on the demand.
The problem of fixers and ticket scalping has been a long-standing issue at the Tubigon port, especially during peak seasons such as the new year, All Souls’ Day, and Holy Week, when there is a surge of passengers traveling to and from Cebu.
Some passengers blamed the employees of the shipping company and the ticket outlets for being involved in the illegal scheme, saying that they were the ones who issued the tickets to the fixers in exchange for a cut. They also accused the port authorities of being negligent and corrupt, for failing to enforce the rules and regulations against fixers and scalpers.
The riot escalated when some passengers tried to confront the fixers and the ticket sellers, resulting in a scuffle and a heated argument. The port security personnel had to intervene to restore order and prevent further violence. Some passengers also reported the incident to the local police, who said that they would investigate the matter and file charges against the perpetrators.
The shipping company, whose name was not disclosed, issued a statement apologizing for the inconvenience and assuring the public that they would take action against the erring employees and cooperate with the authorities. They also urged the passengers to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the proper channels.
The Tubigon port is one of the busiest ports in Bohol, serving as a gateway to Cebu and other neighboring islands. It offers daily trips to Cebu City, with a travel time of about one and a half hours. It also caters to cargo and freight services, as well as tourism and trade activities.