On the Issue of Legalization of Irregularly-Issued Franchises for Public Utility Vehicles (Part 2)

In failing to pass Proposed Resolution Nr. PR 0042-10 sponsored by Atty. Richard Cariño in the City Council in 2010, aiming to recommend to the LTFRB the legalization of thousands of franchises issued by the LTFRB-CAR during the period of moratorium from 1996 onwards, the City Council deprived its constituents of the one speedy and infallible solution to their big problem of being conveyed by thousands of public utility vehicles (mostly taxis) with illegal franchises — a problem existing only in our city or region.

Thanks but no thanks to Councilors BALAJADIA, TABANDA, BAGBAGEN and Vice Mayor BILOG who led the continuing assault against the passage of Atty. Cariño’s proposed resolution, banking merely on the mistaken belief that “irregularly- issued franchises cannot possibly be legalized.”

Atty. Bagbagen had even the temerity to say that the Councilors would be answerable to the Ombudsman were they to pass the proposed measure. I said to myself then, how could that be when the Council would only be recommending the legalization to the LTFRB. Coming from a would-be candidate for the position of Vice Mayor, the argument was “mababaw kaya!” Then there was Vice Mayor Bilog who had the gall to tell Mayor Domogan (when I sought the latter’s help on the issue) that he was not allowing the proposed resolution because the private proponent of legalization, Atty. Valeros, was allegedly collecting huge sums of money from operators signifying for legalization. To my mind, how could a P500 worth of voluntary contribution from few operators be a relevant consideration by a Presiding Chair of a Council in not allowing a proposed resolution to pass? “Mababaw rin kaya!” It appears that the Councilors had other reasons for denying passage of the proposed resolution like perhaps, the absence of lobby money.

In retrospect, had they only relented in their mistaken view that “irregularly-issued franchises cannot possibly be legalized” (because the truth is LTFRB has been legalizing irregularly-issued franchises such as lately the illegal vehicles-for-hire vans in CAR being legalized or converted to UV Express Service) the legalization as proposed could have been had in less than one year from passage of the proposed resolution, similarly as the legalization of illegal taxis in 1999 as recommended by the City Council in its Resolution Numbered 323, S. of 1999 which passed in the Council in a record time of less than one month.

The perennial problem we have with our City Council in Baguio is that it has always been composed of enduring or long lasting members (continuously running for re-election, that’s why) individually behaving during Council sessions like grandstanding demigods but who, in the end, are all conspiring in the passage of measures, for gain. This is what I see in my dealings with the City Council whenever I submit issues or proposals in my advocacies for the consideration of the council such as the legalization of irregularly-issued franchises.

This is one reason why I am opting for a change in the composition of the City Council and hoping I would be able to convince others to do likewise in this coming political exercise. For, in the nitty gritty work of legislation, what we need in the Council are people possessed with good and honest intentions to serve the public, not people with academic excellence but with different motivations.

As exemplified in this story, the principal Councilors involved were all bright lawyers but ironically in this instance, they failed to have the vision to see that what their constituent riding public primarily need is to be conveyed by public utility vehicles legally authorized to operate, for their safety and protection.

In the coming election, I propose that we enrich the composition of the City Council by considering and supporting the worthy newcomers.


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