Where Lies the Blame for our Traffic Congestion in the City? – Part 2

II. The LTFRB Regional Directors

Of the six (6) LTFRB regional directors appointed by Presidents in this region from 1996 to the present, it was Director Daniel Tapia who first learned to circumvent the purpose and spirit of the moratorium declared for Baguio City by the LTFRB (or the Board for short).

Thus, without actually accepting new CPC applications, he nevertheless granted franchises to operate PUVs by spurious and fraudulent means such as:

a) by converting one (1) unit taxi franchise to ten (10) or more individual CPCs, when sold and transferred to buyers;

b) by resurrecting long dead CPCs and issuing new CPCs in their stead;
c) by issuing taxi franchises over abandoned truck-for-hire CPCs previously operating in some parts of Region 1;

d) by issuing impromptu CPCs for car dealers without the benefit of application and payment of filing fees; to name a few.

Later, in tandems with unscrupulous lawyers, personnel of LTFRB and soliciting fixers, he became more emboldened to accept new applications and grant CPCs in direct violation of moratorium and other rules prescribed by the Board.

It was during his time when the hundreds of PUJ CPCs in Trancoville, Aurora Hill and in the La Trinidad trunkline were issued, not to mention the franchises issued to owners of van units for mega taxi and vehicles-for-hire services, with bases of operations both inside and outside Baguio City.

He became so controversial especially with media that the City Council in its Resolution Nr. 153, S. of 1998 declared him persona non grata in Baguio City and recommended to the higher authorities his ouster as Regional Director.

In a lesser degree, his successor, Regional Director Veronica Lasaten also contributed somehow to the traffic congestion in the city, amidst and despite the moratorium existing. In her case, she, with endorsement of the City Council in a resolution passed in just ten (10) days, convinced the Board to legalize taxi units operating in violation of the Public Service law, allegedly for human consideration.

Following the retirement of Director Lasaten, Regional Director Bruno Patricio assumed the position as Regional Director of LTFRB- Region 1 until 2003, when franchising functions was transferred and assumed by DOTC-CAR. Director Patricio in his time was responsible for the CPCs granted to vehicles-for-hire plying Baguio City to many parts of the Cordillera via the Halsema Highway and from Baguio City to other municipalities of Region 1 via Kennon Road and Naguilian Road. The opposition of then Mayor Vergara and myself were most often dismissed for the reason that he would not allow these vehicles-for-hire to enter Baguio City anyway.

Then, there was Regional Director Atty. Mondiguing of the DOTC-CAR who was popularly known to many as the one who issued thousands of original and derivative CPCs that became to be called as Mondiguing franchises. It was also during his time when alleged CPC applications merely pre-docketed by LTFRB Region 1 in the 1990’s without applications filed were used later as basis for change party applications in the LTFRB-CAR, thus adding more vehicles-for-hire and taxis in the city.

The Inventory of thousands of irregularly issued franchises prepared by LTFRB-CAR and furnished the City Council and the Board listing Certificates of Public Convenience issued in violation of the moratorium were mostly franchises granted during the tenure of Director Mondiguing.

To the credit of former Regional Director Federico Mandapat, Jr. who became Regional Director from 2006 to 2010 and Regional Director Celina Claver who served from 2010 to 2015, however, no new Certificates of Public Convenience were issued violating the moratorium. Unless…there were such issuances that I did not come to know, as others were claiming otherwise.

Obviously, it is clear and patent that had these Regional Directors only lived up to their true duties and functions which were assigned and expected of them, we would not be experiencing much of this traffic jams and pollution we are now made to suffer..


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