May 18, 2024

It was an irony that while the applications required to be filed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board under its Memorandum Circular 2019-016 which authorized 200 additional taxi franchises for Baguio pertains merely to applications for qualification, not yet applications for issuance of certificate of public convenience (CPC) which is still to follow.
The conditions are so stringent, as it requires outright presentation of the actual units proposed and financial net worth equivalent to P800,000 multiplied by the number of units proposed, 50 being the minimum, upon filing of the application.
Naturally, the problem here lies in the event that the applications are stalled by delay and opposition, as what is happening now in the applications of Ermadrada Corp. and TBATMPC Cooperative which both have already purchased the 50 units as required way back in April and May, the applicants will pay the amortization of the units without even the assurance that they will be allowed to file application for franchise to operate the units.
Likewise, it was ironic that despite the fact that MC 2019-016 was validly promulgated in accordance with law and the rules, the LTFRB was urged to suspend the issuance of franchises of its own MC, merely upon the verbal opposition and representation of Mayor Benjamin Magalong coursed through the Transportation secretary, without giving the applicants due notice and hearing in violation of due process and the board’s quasi-judicial rules and procedures.
Although subsequently lifted upon further consultation with the local government of Baguio, the delay caused by the suspension was enormously damaging to the applicants who already have to pay the amortization of the units purchased. Mind you, this is yet an opposition at the level of qualification. Come application for CPC, more oppositions will stall and delay the approval of the applications for franchise.
Moreover, it was also an irony that while the investigation and deliberation by the pre-qualification committee of LTFRB-CAR has been ended in August and that the records of the cases have been forwarded to the board en banc for resolution, the latter has yet to decide on it until today – already a lapse of more than three months.
It appears that the action of the board en banc is being delayed by the resolution of the application for 200 units by the first applicant who seemingly is backed up by higher ups despite the fact that its application has been twice dismissed and no appeal thereof has been duly filed by the applicant. Worse, an investigation is being conducted by the board for the purpose of scrapping altogether MC 2019-016 all applications will revert to zero presumably to favor the first applicant. Another irony if it were true.
Hopefully, nevertheless, notwithstanding these ironies, we are hoping that the board en banc will take judicial notice of the fact that Ermadrada Corp. and TBATMPC who relied and submitted all requirements under a valid memorandum circular should be entitled to the grant of the applied for taxi franchise, pursuant to the time-honored Doctrine of Operative Fact. — JAMES S. VALEROS, Baguio City