Probe on for irregular franchises

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Monday, January 27, 2014


LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Winston Gines committed to resolve the fate of more than 2,000 irregularly issued taxi franchises in the Baguio City.

Gines held a dialogue with local transport leaders Friday promising an LTFRB special session in the city next month to decide on the fate of taxi franchises issued in violation of the existing moratorium on taxi franchises.

The LTFRB chairman said they are looking into the petition of former Department of Transportation and Communication regional director James Valeros on the irregularly issued franchises as he tasked current regional director Celina Claver to answer the allegations of the former director.

He said the petition was initially scheduled on February 4 at the LTFRB Central Office but gave in to the clamor of the local taxi industry and will schedule a hearing here in Baguio next month.

Possible effects of the cancellation of these franchises will be transport shortage while legalization of the allegedly questionable taxi franchises will result to numerous taxis plying city streets. But he stressed these options will be carefully studied by the board so as not to affect motorists and the riding public.

He explained the moratorium on the issuance of taxi franchises implemented nationwide was issued primarily to study the current transport situation.

However, this does not guarantee the creation of new routes will also be stopped.

He said creation of new routes for public transport must always be justified so as not flood the streets with many vehicles resulting in traffic congestion instead of giving convenience to the public.

The LTFRB chairman highlighted the active participation of the local government particularly the City Council in resolving the longstanding issues on the franchises.

Claver, meanwhile, said they have notified the City Council of their moves to elevate the case to the LTFRB Central Office of the franchises classified as “irregular”.

The regional director stressed these franchises cannot be called colorum franchises since they have gone through the process. These, however, were not confirmed by the City Council and violate the existing taxi franchise moratorium in Baguio City.

The DOTC regional office is now waiting for the decision of the City Council to either endorse or not the legalization of these franchises.

She added resolving these issues will address franchise commercialization and lower prices for the purchase of franchises which has now skyrocketed to more than P500,000 per franchise instead of only P5,000.

The City Council’s Committee on Public Utilities and Transportation chairman Councilor Joel Alangsab said he prepared official communication to the LTFRB discussing his office’s stand on the irregular franchises.

While the fate of the franchises depends on the City Council, Alangsab said franchise holders will have to wait after budget deliberations are over until the issue is thoroughly discussed and finally decided on.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 28, 2014.

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