Issue of August 12, 2018

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Transport sector calls DOTr to resolve issues filed vs 2 execs
by Rimaliza A. Opiña

Jeepney operators and drivers in the Cordillera as well as the local government of Baguio have appealed to officials of the Department of Transportation to hasten the issuance of resolution regarding the complaints filed against the two top DOTr-Cordillera officials.

On June 27, the United Metro Baguio-Benguet Jeepney Federation wrote the DOTr saying the 90-day preventive suspension of Regional Director Jose Eduardo Natividad and Asst. Regional Director Mohammad Abbas has stalled various functions of the agency especially hearings on petitions concerning the extension of validity of PUJ franchises. The group has asked for the agency to expedite the issuance of a resolution so that regular operations in said agency could resume.

On July 31, Baguio Mayor Mauricio Domogan has written DOTr through Usec.-Secondment for Planning Thomas Orbos to decide at the earliest time possible.

Domogan said that should the agency find merit in the complaints against both officials and would carry the penalty of removal from office, the mayor recommended two women whom he thinks are not only competent but have integrity in running the DOTr.

The mayor recommended the reappointment of former DOTr regional director Celina Claver and Jennilyn Avelino, concurrent DOTr Officer-in-Charge, as permanent ARD.

Domogan said Claver is competent, honest, has integrity, and rose from the ranks through hard work and dedication from the time the Postal Office was still a bureau of the then Department of Transportation and Communications up to her appointment as a regional director.

“Claver was regional director for five years before the previous administration replaced her “without justifiable cause,” according to Domogan.

Avelino, on the other hand, is a competent and honest public servant who possesses all qualifications that would merit her appointment as ARD, Domogan added.

Last May, the DOTr central office issued a preventive suspension order against Natividad and Abbas after they have been charged for grave misconduct, conduct prejudicial to the best interest of service, and gross neglect of duty.

Natividad has been alleged to have demanded and accepted money in exchange for favorable decision relative to applications for the issuance of certificates of public convenience.

He is also being investigated for allegedly requiring district heads to remit a monthly quota, failure to perform his duties in the conduct of operations against colorum vehicles, and is allegedly frequently absent from work. 

Abbas has been alleged of asking money in exchange for the release of impounded vehicles. A separate complaint was also filed against him for gun toting. 

In their stead, the central office designated Avelino as OIC for administrative matters and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Hearing Officer Jess Balagot for legal matters.

Their suspension is supposed to end by Aug. 22.

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