City firm on stand vs additional taxi franchises
The city council on Monday approved through Resolution 571, s. 2020 the city’s Annual Investment Plan for 2021, which is an essential step and part of the budget deliberation for the timely passage of the city’s proposed P1.9-billion 2021 annual budget before the year ends.
The AIP refers to the annual slice of the Local Development Investment Program, which constitutes the total resource requirements for all programs, projects, and activities consisting of the annual capital expenditure and regular operating requirements of local government units. It identifies projects and programs to be appropriated in the annual budget.
Upon the recommendation of the committee on public utilities, transportation and traffic legislation, the city council has approved various resolutions relative to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board Resolution 117, s. 2020, which reopens the “selection process for 200 additional taxi franchises for Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet to any point in Cordillera Administrative Region,” pursuant to LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2019-016.
In Resolution 575, s. 2020, the body declared that the number of existing taxi service/units operating in the city, excluding the 183 expired franchises, is sufficient and meets the demand of the city population, including those of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tublay, and Tuba.
The declaration is based on the result of the study conducted by the Traffic and Transportation Management Division of the City Engineering Office on the city’s traffic and transportation situation.
In the same resolution, the body expressed its objection to the additional 200 taxi units and thereby requested the LTFRB to revoke MC 2019-016, which allows the “opening of additional taxi franchises for Baguio City/La Trinidad, Benguet to any point in Cordillera and in Butuan City and to any point in Caraga Region” insofar as Baguio City is affected.
Through Resolution 576, s. 2020, the city council has expressed its support to the opposition filed by City Mayor Benjamin Magalong and various transport sectors before the LTFRB against the grant of additional franchises for 200 regular taxi units to operate in the city.
The resolution cites Department of Transportation Order 2017-011 which gives to cities and municipalities the responsibility in their areas to collect data, analyze public transport supply and demand, and identify specific public transport supply gaps for travel within linkages with national agencies, academe, and development agencies.
It says the circular was issued in disregard of the provisions of the DOTr order, as no study was conducted as basis to justify the opening and processing of additional taxi franchises for the city.
Another is Resolution 577, s. 2020, which directs the City Legal Office to intervene in the proceedings with the LTFRB regional office and file its opposition for and on behalf of Baguio represented by the mayor and the council.
The other actions meant to support and strengthen the petition are Resolutions 578, s. 2020 “to direct the TTMD and CEO to study further the necessity of other modes of transportation particularly the use of traffic network vehicle services or ride hailing service system”; Resolution 579, s. 2020 “to request Baguio Rep. Marquez Go to intercede for and on behalf of the city government for the recall/revocation of LTFRB MC 2019-016”; and Resolution 580, s. 2020 “to request the Regional Development Council for the passage of a resolution supporting the stand of the city opposing the additional regular taxi units and for the LTFRB to recall/revoke MC 2019-016 insofar as Baguio City is affected.”
Meanwhile, through Resolution 572, s. 2020, the City General Services Office was urged to pursue the titling of the lots of the Asin hydroelectric power plants 1 and 3 facilities in the name of the city of Baguio.
The AMHPP 1, 2 and 3 located within Tuba, Benguet were built, operated, and administered in the 1920s. Its operation and maintenance were assumed by the city government in 2006, but was stopped in 2012 by virtue of a cease and desist order issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission as the city was not able to secure the required certificate of compliance.
According to the City Administrator’s Office and the City Legal Office, only plant 2 has been titled in the name of the city while plants 1 and 3 at Tadiangan, Nangalisan are still in the process of titling in favor of the city.