Terminal fee-A A +A
Thursday, November 1, 2012
GOV. Gwen Garcia received a vote of confidence from some Cebu legislators after she lifted the P5 terminal fee at the Cebu South Bust Terminal (CSBT). Rep. Eddie Gullas, Pablo Garcia, PJ Garcia, and Benhur Salimbangon reportedly asked her to remove the fee.
The terminal fee collected totaled P16 million from January to September this year.
Reports say that the Economic Enterprise Council (EEC) of the province approved the removal of the fee, and this will be implemented today.
The congressmen who asked the governor to lift the terminal fee lauded the governor’s sense of urgency. They said the move means a lot to their constituents, especially those who travel with their families.
The removal of the fee is not only timely for the long weekend when Catholics celebrate All Saints’ Day and the All Souls’ Day (that’s today and tomorrow), but could also win over voters come the May 2013 polls.
Gullas, in a statement to Sun.Star Cebu that was almost like a campaign message, wished that his constituents in the first district would return the favor to the governor and her brother PJ in next year’s elections.
The governor is running for congresswoman in the third congressional district while her younger brother, Congressman PJ, is One Cebu’s gubernatorial bet, with Boboy Durano as his running mate.
Undoubtedly, the intention of the governor is good. But there are ramifications as far as the governor removing the terminal fee through an executive fiat. It was the Provincial Board that approved the collection of the terminal fee.
The removal of the terminal fee would be good for all travelers (not only from the south of Cebu) since this would mean savings no matter how small. But did the governor follow some protocols on this regard? I don’t think so.
Also, the timing of the removal of the fee is questionable. Candidates of the Liberal Party (LP) and the PB, which is now controlled by LP converts, should question the legality of the removal of the fee.
The EEC is not the PB. It is an economic enterprise of the province created by an ordinance. The EEC merely recommends and the PB ratifies and approves the recommendation when it is not contrary to law, morals and public policy.
Reports have it that the EEC recommended to the governor the lifting or removal of the terminal fee without passing through the PB. Hasn’t the LP-dominated PB shaken off its One Cebu party coat?
I’ll bet this is the governor’s gambit. If the PB, majority of whose members are LP candidates, questions or blocks the governor’s move, she will use it as an issue against it during the campaign period.
Even with the glaring illegality, PB members who are LP candidates just play deaf and dumb so the governor won’t have an issue to use against them during the campaign period. After all, LP supporters also use the terminal.
Since the governor has removed the terminal fee at the CSBT, I think it is also appropriate and fair for her to lift the P20 parking fee at the Capitol compound. Most of those who transact business at the Capitol are not from Cebu City.
But Capitol consultant Jose Maria Gastardo expressed concern that without the terminal fee, CSBT will be opened to different types of people. He said Capitol might charge a fee for the use of the comfort rooms to ensure its proper upkeep.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 01, 2012.