Can Corruption in the LTFRB and LTO-CAR Be Stopped in 3 to 6 Months?

LTFRB-CAR is one of the agencies under the administrative and operational control of the DOTC-CAR, the other one being the LTO-CAR. The LTFRB-CAR as every one now probably knows, is charged with the function of issuance of franchises and regulation of public utility vehicles, while LTO-CAR is charged with registration of overland motor vehicles in the Cordillera region.

Since LTFRB-CAR was made to function as a franchising and regulatory agency in 2003, corruption perpetrated primarily through fixing activities and to a certain extent through red tape, has been the hallmark of its performance. Similarly, the same is true with LTO-CAR which functioned even earlier than LTFRB-CAR.

Not even the passage of Rep. Act No. 9485 that punishes fixing activities and red tape of imprisonment of up to six (6) years and/or fine of up to P200,000.00 or both fine and imprisonment could stopped these illicit activities of fixing and red tape. In fact, through the years the more it has proliferated.

There can be no explanation for its perpetuation other than its regional directors having been too kind they tolerated the fixers and franchising personnel engaged in fixing activities, or that they are themselves involved or immersed in corruption. In my years of practice in the LTFRB-CAR, I came to believe it is the latter that makes corruption a permanent fixture in these two (2) agencies.

Corruption having been systemic among all personnel of the LTFRB and LTO-CAR, with the exception of some, accounts for the irregular issuance of Certificates of Public Convenience (CPCs) in violation of the moratorium in BLIST and other rules of the Board. These issuances of illegal franchises from 1996 to the present has caused the excessive number of public utility vehicles to ply the city and was mainly responsible for our traffic congestions.

Corruption also explains why colorum vehicles are freely able to operate without franchises; why vans and buses from other regions are allowed to enter Baguio City in violation of the moratorium under Memorandum Circular No. 98-0626; and why jeepneys and taxis in particular are able to use the roads and streets of the city for their garage and terminal; all of which contribute to the pernicious traffic congestion we are now experiencing in the city.

It is the prognosis of many that unless this traffic congestion similar to what is obtaining in Metro Manila will be addressed effectively by the incoming regional director to be appointed by President Duterte, Baguio City will be a dead city in 5 or 10 years, with its residents nauseating and reeling from pollution and congestion.

So the question now is, will corruption which is the root cause of traffic congestion in the city be effectively addressed sooner that 3 to 6 months which was the promise made by President Duterte for drug related crimes?

Maybe yes, it depends. If he will appoint a new regional director for DOTC-CAR who could be super efficient, incorruptible and has the making of a true public servant, and with the help of a citizenry who is no longer apathetic, indifferent and tolerant of officials’ wrongdoing, may be yes. Otherwise it will not be stopped in 3 to 6 months or even the whole term of President Duterte.