Issue of September 29, 2019
     
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Council asks LTFRB to consider moratorium before CPC issuance
by Jordan G. Habbiling / PIO

The Baguio City Council urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to first consider the moratorium on the issuance of certificates of public convenience before it allows the operation of new taxi units in the city.

In a meeting with the LTFRB during the council’s Sept. 23 session, the city council criticized the LTFRB’s issuance of Memorandum Circular 2019-16 which opens the application of 200 taxi franchises for Baguio and La Trinidad without consulting the city government.

“In Baguio City, there is a moratorium on the issuance of franchises to all types of PUVs. You have been issuing franchises left and right without considering this legislation from the local government. It is but appropriate on your part to reach out to the local government and check if the memorandum you are issuing is in concurrence or contrary to the legislation of the city,” Councilor Arthur Allad-iw said.

LTFRB Board Member Ronnie Corpuz said their office will look into ways on how they can take into account the city’s moratorium which will reflect in the Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) designed for the city.

The council expressed hope that the LTFRB will respect the moratorium of the city on the issuance of PUV franchises as well as other measures imposed by the local government related to the matter.

In the same meeting, the LTFRB clarified that the application for the 200 additional taxi units was endorsed on the grounds that there are 183 abandoned franchises as per record of the LTFRB-CAR. According to the LTFRB, the 200 taxi units will cover for the abandoned franchises.

LTFRB Regional Director Lalaine Sobremonte said a memorandum circular was issued stating that a franchise will be considered “expired” if the owner fails to apply for the extension of validity of CPC.

Sobremonte also explained that individual applications are not allowed as the required number of taxi units is at least 50. She said taxi operators, including those whose franchises had expired, were advised to form a group in order to reach the minimum number of required units.

At present, there are three groups that were able to comply with the minimum number of required taxi units. However, their applications are pending before the regional office due to the appeal of the first applicant who was earlier disqualified.

Sobremonte said these 150 units owned by the applicants are plying the streets of Baguio as private vehicles as the groups are awaiting decisions for their applications.

“We are appealing to this august body to allow these 150 units to serve the people of Baguio. We respect the moratorium, but we applied because we knew there is a need to provide more public utility vehicles to the public,” Rey Bacoco, transport group representative, pleaded.

Bacoco also denied the claim that the main cause of traffic problems is the increase of public utility vehicles. He said the surge in the number of private cars is the source of traffic jams in the city.

Several members of the city council maintained that the number of existing taxi units can still service the city even with the population growth and expiration of franchises of some taxi units.

The city council urged the immediate preparation of the LPTRP by the City Planning and Development Office and the Traffic Management Division of the City Engineer’s Office in coordination with the Traffic and Transport Management Committee in order to identify the needs of the city in terms of public land transport service.


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