June 4, 2023

One incompetence too many

The evaluations of two applications for qualifications for taxi franchises for 50 units each filed by cooperative TBATMPC and ERMADRADA Corp. pursuant to LTFRB Memorandum Circular (MC) 2019-016 allowing additional 200 taxi units in Baguio City, is one example of classical incompetence displayed by members of the pre-qualification committee designated by LTFRB-Cordillera under OIC Director Lalaine Sobremonte.
The reasons are as follows:
First, while the said MC did not specifically provide that all the proposed taxi units applied for shall be submitted upon filing of the applications, the committee or LTFRB-CAR made its non-submission as the underlying reason or basis for disqualifying the two applications, which is erroneous.
For, no less than in par. 3-b, page 3 of the said MC, it provided that if the applications networth is insufficient to cover the offered financial requirement of the package that the applicant intends to undertake, the same may be augmented by a credit line issued by a bank in favor of the applicant which expressly state that the same is earmarked to finance the taxi fleet which the applicant intends to operate. Moreover, par. 5.3 of page 3 of the same MC provides in the submission of qualification documents, it shall be addressed to the regional director and marked upon the effectivity of the MC up to a point when the total required number of units proposed has been reached.
Second, while the committee in par. 5.5 of the said MC is mandated that the detailed evaluation of all qualification documents filed shall be based solely upon the qualification documents submitted, the committee chose to conduct unwarranted inspection of the units and garage on July 31, 2019, based merely on the false information or say-so of others that the applicants do not have in their possession the units applied for. This is, despite knowledge of the fact that right from the beginning, the committee already knew that the applicants submitted the alternative requirement of sales invoices and delivery notes when it filed the application, in lieu of official receipt and certificate of registration of the proposed units.
Further, in the committee’s incompetence, it failed to consider or take judicial notice of the fact based on its own records and practices that the board traditionally would only require pro-forma invoices in application for certificate of public convenience or franchises when there exist a probability that the applicants will suffer dire consequences owing to the delay or disapproval by the board, such as in the case of the instant applications.
Incidentally, the OIC regional director should have been more discerning to have exercised appropriate discretion to have partially required or at least reduced the number of actual units to be submitted upon application since in Region 1, the minimum number of units required and allowed to be submitted or applied for by the board was only 15 units, compared to the 50 units required in Baguio City which Toyota dealer found it hard to simultaneously deliver.
Owing to this wrongful evaluation and disqualification of the said applications, applicants TBATMPC and ERMADRADA are now at a quandary on what to do with their investments exceeding P80M or their units stocked or on hoard in their garages unable to operate as for-hire, for lack of franchise or provisional authority.
This one incompetence added to the accumulated incompetence in the past of the past of the LTFRB in this region will likely repeat itself, knowing the system and culture now in vogue in this agency. — JAMES S. VALEROS, Baguio City

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