Many will probably not remember or even know that long before the first moratorium prohibiting the grant of franchises to all public utility vehicles in Baguio City was declared by the LTFRB under Memorandum Circular No. 96-002, Atty. Edilberto T. Claravall, a neophyte Councilor just elected in May of 1992, already foresaw that the city under the circumstances obtaining then would inevitably suffer traffic paralysis because of the way LTFRB in this region was uncontrollably issuing franchises to public utility vehicles in the city, — if nothing is done to contain it.
So concerned was he of his dim prognosis for the city that Councilor Claravall urgently authored a resolution which became Resolution Nr. 323, S. of 1992 entitled: Urging the LTFRB to suspend the grant of new franchises to any public utility vehicle plying the route in the City of Baguio, the intent of which is to protect and shield the constituencies, residents and visitors alike, from the debilitating effects of uncontained traffic congestion and pollution.
Not contented with the action taken by the LTFRB Region 1 to the City’s Resolution 323-92, Councilor Claravall was constrained to sponsor another resolution which became Resolution Nr. 247, S. of 1993 entitled: Strongly urging the LTFRB Regional Office No. 1 to reconsider its Regional Memorandum Circular No. 93-01-006 and that any action it may take on the matter be forwarded to the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) at the soonest possible time.
Arising from Councilor Claravall’s authored resolutions was City Council’s Resolution Nr. 012, S. of 1994 which was titled: Appealing to President Fidel V. Ramos, the lack of support from the LTFRB to previous resolutions urging the LTFRB to suspend the grant of new franchises to any public utility vehicles plying their route in the City of Baguio.
Subsequently, probably irritated by the obstinate attitude of LTFRB Region 1 which continued to issue new franchises despite the several resolutions already passed by the City Council recommending the suspension in the issuance of franchises, Councilor Claravall was impelled to propose another resolution which became Resolution Nr. 124, S. of 1994 entitled: Urging the Congress of the Philippines through the sponsorship of Hon. Bernardo M. Vergara, to amend Republic Act No. 7160 (Local Government Code of 1991), by adding therein as among the powers, duties and functions of local government units the authority to regulate and grant franchises for the operation of jeepneys and taxicabs within their respective territorial jurisdictions.
Worthy to note is Councilor Clavarall’s sincere and consistent concern for what Baguio will become if the city’s continuing traffic congestion will not be stalled or preempted which he has shown even as a neophyte Councilor, but which was not exhibited by other official of the city until today — not Mayor Domogan or then Councilor Jose Molintas or Vice Mayor Edison Bilog, in particular. The latter had all the chances in this world to show it, but they all blew it.
Come to think of it, had Councilor Claravall did not leave the City Council to join the Judiciary, he would have surely continued his one pet advocacy of shielding the city from the adverse effects of traffic congestion. Nevertheless, with his return to the political fold, we can be assured that this advocacy which never left him all these years will be given more attention, what with the traffic jams in the city becoming more aggravated and almost crippling.
It goes without saying that since the present leadership has failed to solve for us the problems of traffic in the last 20 years or so (or until the problem has become almost insurmountable), it behoove us to try, as a civic duty to ourselves and to our succeeding generation, to find someone now who has shown an honest and sincere interest on the problem of traffic in the past like for instance, retired Judge Edilberto Claravall when he was a Councilor. If whe truly believe he is that someone, don’t you think we should rally behind him when we finally choose the leader of the city this coming May?
For a change we probably should, why not? As for me, I will.