On The Legalization Of Irregularly-Issued Franchises
November 8, 2014
(This article should have came out in the Midland’s Week’s Mail last week but its Editorial Board preferred not to publish it. Since my purpose for the article is to inform concerned PUV operators about the development of the legalization case, I chose to re-write the article for this column.- JSV)
The petition filed with the Franchising Board in Quezon City on 5 August 2013 seeking to legalize the irregular franchises issued by LTFRB in this region in violation of the moratorium and other LTFRB rules was finally heard last 21 October 2014 by the Board en banc without opposition.
In this petition filed, the 35 operators who signed the petition sought for an issuance of an order or memorandum circular allowing holders of irregularly issued franchises to file individual application similar to what the Board did under Memorandum Circular No. 2000-019 when it legalize spurious and fraudulent taxi franchises. The petitioners further prayed for or recommended the following:
(1) That the hearing of the petition for legalization be conducted preferably at Baguio City in the LTFRB-CAR;
(2) That legalization should not be based alone from the Inventory made by LTFRB-CAR but there should be a continuing thorough verification in order to cleanse the LTFRB dockets completely;
(3) That the Board requires only the payment of filing fees and waive or reduce the penalties imposable therein since the irregularities were the making of LTFRB in this region;
(4) That a full-fledge and full-time Hearing Officer from the Board in Quezon City be assigned to hear individual application for legalization; and
(5) That acceptance of application for sale and transfer be suspended during the duration or process of legalization.
It would have been of great help at this stage had the City Council and/or the Regional Director of DOTC-CAR put their best foot forward to assiduously recommend this legalization. Unfortunately, they did not. As discussed in the Manifestation filed by petitioners, the DOTC-CAR Regional Director Ms. Celina Claver instead chose to perpetuate the illegality of these franchises by approving the CPC applications supported only with self-serving Affidavit of Undertaking.
While there is no assurance that the Board will truly grant the petition, nevertheless, if what I heard from the Chairman is correct that he will consider the petitioners’ request and recommendation, it is good enough a positive foreboding, compared to the reluctance of the previous Boards to consider the legalization of irregularly-issued franchises that have become a great source of corruption hereabout. Otherwise put, there is such an assurance on which we can pin our hope that, after four long years of battling it out with local authorities, this equitable solution to the problem may yet see the light of day, so to speak.
What is needed though is that petitioners and all other CPC holders similarly situated but who did not signed the petition, to show that they are one in asking for this legalization of irregular franchises. There is yet time to signify this intent and desire to the Board en banc before its decision is handed down.
The ball is in your court!