Council waits for DOTC decision on taxi franchises-A A +A
By JM Agreda
Friday, January 18, 2013
THE City Council of Baguio is holding on to the assurance made by the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) that it will make a final declaration on the legalization of irregularly issued franchises.
DOTC Regional Director Celina Claver appeared before the City Council Monday signifying they will provide a listing of these irregular franchises to councilors which they deem need to be legalized.
Claver said they will need a resolution from the City Council declaring for the legalization of these irregularly issued franchises. She earlier signified tolerance of these franchises by renewing the franchises subject to any proceeding of what the City Council or the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s decision considering the current owners of these Certificates of Public Conveniences were either third to fifth owners and is considered also victims of then irregularity of the franchise issuance.
Claver said for humanitarian reason they are registering these franchises pending a Route Measure Capacity test, which they requested since last year before their Central Office but have been denied due to the current cleansing of the listing franchises in the country.
This after councilors deferred any action in the plight of operators of these irregularly-issued franchises which was proposed in a resolution from the Committee on Public Transport and Utilities to approve the requests of the operators.
The councilors expressed concern that if they allow the legalization of these franchises it will also cause a surplus of taxis plying city streets.
The regional director said they have discovered some 1,400 irregularly issued franchises that violated the existing moratorium on franchise issuance in the Baguio, La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay but stressed they cannot cancel them because it would either cause a transport crisis as well as affect the livelihood of the same number of operators and drivers.
The agency, however, cannot determine which of these irregular franchises have also violated existing Public Service laws.
But franchise regularization advocate lawyer James Valeros claimed registering the franchises by the agency is “a great mistake by DOTC-CAR because they are perpetuating the illegality of the illegal franchises issue in violation of the moratorium and other transport laws.”
However, Claver said upon becoming regional director of DOTC she was faced with a dilemma of some 700 to 1,000 franchise that are about to expire, which she said they have to renew registration or these will result to the loss of livelihood of operators who were not already the original owners of these irregular franchises.
The regional director also stressed they are finding solutions to this problem stressing that legalization of the franchise as endorsed by the City Council would solve the problem without either causing a transport crisis or a surplus of taxis roaming city streets.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 18, 2013.