BAGUIO CITY – The Cordillera office of the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC-CAR) disclosed taxicabs operating in Baguio and Benguet are covered by the recent order of the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for a P10 rollback contrary to the belief of local transport groups that they are not covered by the said order.
Lawyer Brenda D. Poklay, DOTC-CAR legal counsel, said the LTFRB already issued a clarificatory order Thursday that all taxicabs operating nationwide are covered by the P10 rollback including air conditioned and airport taxis operating in specific areas like In Metro Manila, Angeles City, Pampanga; Cebu, Iloilo, Davao among other areas.
“The best thing for our taxi drivers is to obey a lawful order coming from the LTFRB being the regulatory agency of public transport instead of believing on mere personal and unfounded opinions from interest groups and individuals,” Poklay stressed.
Earlier, Perfeto Itliong, Jr., regional coordinator of the Cordillera office of the Public Transport Affairs Office (PTAO-CAR), circulated flyers among taxi operators and drivers to inform them that they are not covered by the LTFRB order considering that there are no air conditioned and airport taxis in the city plus the fact that the flag down rate is P35 compared to the P40 flag down rate in Metro Manila and P70 for airport taxis.
Poklay branded Itliong’s arguments as baseless and unfounded considering that the clarificatory order issued by the LTFRB already cleared doubts and that the P10 taxi fare rollback is applicable to all taxis operating nationwide.
She said the DOTC-CAR will conduct sweeping operations in Baguio and Benguet in the coming days to apprehend drivers who refuse to implement the P10 taxi fare rollback to allow the commuters to enjoy the temporary fare reduction as a result of the previous significant reduction in oil prices.
Poklay warned erring taxi drivers and operators that they will be fined P5,000 for the first offense, P10,000 and suspension of franchise for the second offense and P15,000 and cancellation of franchise for the third offense once they refuse to comply with the taxi fare rollback.
The DOTC-CAR official advised taxi operators and drivers to comply with the order to avoid misunderstanding with their passengers and the filing of complaints against them that might result to their being imposed the appropriate penalties.
She claimed the agency is studying legal actions to be taken against Itliong for his ill-advised distribution of flyers that created confusion among the motoring and commuting public instead of him taking the initiative to instil order among the members of the transport sector.
Poklay cited the agency deployed several personnel in order to confiscate the misleading flyers and remind drivers to comply with the lawful order instead of believing into mere perception and opinions of individuals who have interests on the matter.
She also called on passengers who are not being given the required rollback to report the incidents to their office so that they could immediately take the necessary actions and impose the appropriate fines against the erring taxi drivers and operators in Baguio and Benguet for their non-compliance to the fare rollback. By Dexter A. See