Mayor reiterates opposition to new taxi franchises

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Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong reiterated the local government’s vehement opposition to the proposed re-opening of the selection process in relation to the pending opening of additional 200 units taxi franchises and replacement of abandoned units for Baguio City and La Trinidad, Benguet to any pint in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

The local chief executive stated that the city remains firm on its opposition to the opening of the additional taxi franchises and replacement of the abandoned ones because there was an oversupply of taxi units in the city amidst the wrath of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Further, he added that besides, the local government was never consulted on the planned opening of the 200 taxi franchises and replacement of the abandoned ones where the grant of the same will further aggravate the traffic situation in the city.

On July 2, 2020, the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) approved Resolution No. 117, series of 2020 for the re-opening of the selection process under Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 2019-016 after no operator or transport cooperative was able to qualify in the earlier selection process under the aforesaid memorandum, particularly the opening of 200 units and replacement of the abandoned units in Baguio city and La Trinidad, Benguet to any point in CAR.

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Under the LTFRB resolution, it stated that in order to ensure that the commuting public has adequate, safe, convenient and dependable public land transportation services, there is a need to re-open the selection process under MC No. 2019-016.

On March 26, 2019, LTFRB issued MC No. 2019-016 that opened additional taxi franchises for Baguio City, La Trinidad, Benguet to any point in CAR and in Butuan City and to any point in CARAGA Region that provided for the selection process of qualified applications.

During the opening of the selection process, Cordillera Basic Sectors Transport Cooperative, ERMADRADA Taxi Transport Corp., NGL Transport and Trusted BLISTT Alliance of Transport Multipurpose Cooperative filed their respective applications for the available taxi franchises in the proposed routes.

However, the pre-evaluation committee issued separate committee recommendations that disqualified the aforesaid applicants for their alleged failure to comply with the stringent guidelines that had been prescribed by the LTFRB for the opening of the additional taxi franchises.

On November 25-26, 2019, an investigating team conducted an investigation on the implementation of MC No. 2019-016 in the region and found alleged numerous procedural lapses in the earlier selection process that prompted the LTFRB to re-open the selection process for the available taxi franchises.

The LTFRB subsequently declared the earlier selection process conducted by the LTFRB-CAR as null and void due to alleged procedural lapses and allowed the re-opening of the same provided that applicants will qualify under the stringent guidelines provided for the same.

By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis

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