June 21, 2024

The Baguio City Council, in its session last Oct. 24, urged the Cooperative and Development Authority to fast-track its investigation on the alleged violations of the board of directors (BODs) of the Cordillera Basic Sectors Transport Cooperative (CBSTC).
The council’s move came on the heels of the complaint of some CBSTC members who alleged that their incumbent BODs had failed to conduct an election of officers.
The complainants were led by Rex Bayangan, former secretary general of CBSTC.
During the forum, lawyer EJ Dilag, CDA-CAR representative, said a special order would soon be issued for the composition of a team that would conduct the investigation.
Dilag confirmed that the transport cooperative had not conducted any general assembly for the purpose of electing a new set of officers.
He said as provided for in the Philippine Cooperative Code of 2008, at least 10 percent of the members of a cooperative may petition for the conduct of a special general assembly. If the petition was not acted upon, the CDA-CAR, upon receipt of the petition, will issue an order compelling the cooperative to conduct a special general assembly, he added.
Dilag said the CBSTC officers had not undergone training as mandated by the Cooperative Code. This, according to him, could be a ground for disciplinary action or even removal from their positions.
Bayangan also alleged the officers had demanded the cooperative members/operators for the Aurora Hill and Trancoville routes through a text message to pay their shares of P100,000 per unit for the consolidation of their franchises on or before Sept. 30. Failure to pay, according to the text message, would mean the units would be automatically forfeited. Also, the text message stated that delay in payment would result in a penalty in the amount of P5,000 per day. 
Bayangan described this act as harassment.
During the forum, Eng. Elmer Mendoza Jr., Land Transportation and Franchising Board-CAR representative, said the penalty imposed by the LTFRB is given only when the cooperative had failed to exhaust other remedies to pay for the purchase of the modern jeepney units.
Bayangan also claimed that P1,000 was being collected from operators of traditional jeepneys for Aurora Hill, Trancoville, and Dominican Hill routes in exchange for provisional authority which, according to them, is issued by the LTFRB for free.
Mendoza clarified the only amount collected is the P260 filing fee, which is paid for the consolidated franchise, not individually.
Officers of the transport cooperative failed to attend the forum. No prior notice explaining their absence had reached the city council.
In an interview last Oct. 27, CBSTC Chair Jude Wal said these allegations had been magnified to cover up the irregularities that Bayangan had allegedly committed when he was the CBSTC secretary general.
Wal said he and the other officers had started taking legal steps against Bayangan for alleged misuse of the transport cooperative’s funds. 
Wal said the officers refused to relinquish their positions because they are still in the process of perfecting the transport cooperative’s policies, putting into place mechanisms, and introducing more innovations. 
He said the CDA-CAR had been informed of their plan to suspend the election of officers until everything is in order.
Wal also denied sending a text message to the members urging them to pay their shares for consolidation. He said all advisories the officers issued went through proper communication procedures not merely through text messaging.
He also clarified that the P1,000 being collected from the members was meant to shoulder the transport cooperative’s administrative expenses for the processing of documents. 
He also disputed Mendoza’s claim that the officers had not undergone training. – Jordan G. Habbiling