Body told to reconcile special permit for jeepneys

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BAGUIO CITY  – Members of the City Council ordered the Baguio Traffic and Transport Technical Working Group (BTTWG) to reconcile the present confusion created by the alleged conflict in the issuance of special permits for public utility jeepneys (PUJs) that will be allowed to temporarily operate during the prevailing general community quarantine (GCQ).

Vice Mayor Faustino A. Olowan said in Wednesday’s special session that city councilors received numerous complaints from jeepney operators and drivers on the alleged ongoing operations of the members of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) Flying Squad issuing warnings to them on their inability to secure the required special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

He disclosed that special permits had been issued previously to the jeepney drivers by the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) allowing the temporary operation of a certain number of jeepneys per route until on May 31, 2020.

LTFRB Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2020-017 issued on May 1, 2020, allows the temporary operation of PUJs issued special permits by the regulating agency during the GCQ implementation.

LTFRB-CAR officer-in-charge Engr. Lalaine Sobrimonte, in a teleconference during the special session, claimed it is their agency that has been vested with the power to issue special permits in close coordination with the concerned local government to ensure that the rationalized transport routes will be serviced by the PUJs allowed to operate.

She explained that during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) implementation, the certificates of public convenience (CPCs) issued to public utility vehicles (PUJS) were outrightly revoked following the declared suspension of mass public transportation.

The LTFRB-CAR official said her office earlier coordinated with the LTO-CAR to ensure that no PUJs will be apprehended because of the wrong permit previously issued to the drivers.

According to her, the LTFRB circular will still be effective even if the Cordillera will be further downgraded to modified GCQ, thus PUJs allowed by the city government to service certain routes in the city should apply online for the issuance of their special permits.

Engr. Richard Lardizabal, BTTWG chairman, acceded to the request of the city legislators to reconcile the conflicts in the issuance of the special permits for PUJs for residents to have  transportation to go to the market, attend to medical needs, and for workers in the essential sectors allowed to open under GCQ.

He disclosed the BTTWG is closely coordinating with the concerned government agencies, the different PUJ associations, and barangay officials, to ascertain the number of jeepneys to be allowed to operate during the GCQ gradually like what is being done to other essential sectors that have been allowed to operate.

Olowan emphasized it is important for everyone to be patient and understand the situation the country is into avoid unnecessary conflicts that may arise among concerned sectors.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis