Many times in the past during meetings of transport operators, I myself would hear the Honorable Mayor Domogan say there is no moratorium existing in the city.
Always, I would take these pronouncements lightly believing that the Mayor did not truly mean them. For, politicians as we all know, say one thing on one occasion and on the next utter the opposite, as if everything is but a joke.
It is no longer a joke, however, when a high official of the DOTC-CAR (which office implements supposedly the moratorium) facing an administrative charge for neglect of duty would consider the same pronouncement of the Mayor as if it were a gospel truth.
Allegedly, this happened during the transport dialogue / forum on 26 November 2015 attended by no less than the LTFRB Chairman, Atty. Winston Ginez, his Board Members, Congressman Aliping and Mayor Domogan. Here, the DOTC official facing an administrative charge in a case, claimed that the Mayor emphatically repeated his previous pronouncements that there is no moratorium in Baguio City.
Being so, she alleged she did not commit any violation of the moratorium in accepting new CPC or franchise application from 2003 to 2007. Hence, there is no neglect of duty committed basing from what Mayor Domogan declared in the forum.
In the context of his pronouncement, nevertheless, I still believe the Mayor did not strictly mean what he said during the forum. For, he also said he will continue to endorse new franchise applications if there exists a public need and the requirements therefor are complied with. The requirements he was referring to are the Route Measured Capacity survey being done only by DOTC personnel and the LGU recommendation for exemption to the moratorium. This suggest that the Mayor admits the fact that there is truly a moratorium in Baguio City but that filing of application and grant of the franchise is subject to the above requirements.
It will be remembered that Mayor Domogan approved Resolution Nr. 292, Series of 1998 passed by the City Council (yours truly drafted the proposed resolution thereof which was sponsored in the Council by Atty. Richard Cariño). The resolution as titled states:
RECOMMENDING TO THE LAND TRANSPORTATION FRANCHISING AND REGULATORY BOARD (LTFRB) EN BANC FOR THE IMMEDIATE AMENDMENT OF ITS MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR No. 96-002 DATED 10 JANUARY 1996 SO AS TO INCLUDE, IN CLEAR AND UNMISTAKABLE LANGUAGE THE SUSPENSION OF ACCEPTANCE OF APPLICATIONS OR ISSUANCE OF FRANCHISES TO OPERATE PUBLIC UTILITY VEHICLE SERVICES IN OR TOUCHING BAGUIO CITY, WHETHER IT BE ALONG INTRA-CITY ROUTES OR INTER-CITY AND INTRA-REGIONAL ROUTES. AND WHETHER IT BE FOR NEW APPLICATIONS FOR FRANCHISES OR MERE PETITIONS FOR AMENDMENT OF LINE.
The resolution as recommended became LTFRB Memorandum Circular No. 98-026 imposing a moratorium in Baguio City and BLIST. The implementation of the moratorium was strengthened further by the issuance a DOTC Memorandum dated 26 June 2006 stating that only the Department Secretary can grant exemption to the moratorium. In view of this mandate, many franchises were revoked by the Secretary, and LTFRB-CAR personnel responsible for allowing the issuance of franchises in violation of the moratorium were administratively charged. Based on the foregoing facts, it is doubtful whether the Honorable Mayor could have meant what he said many times that there is no moratorium in the city.
Yes Sirs, there exist truly a moratorium in Baguio City since 1996 and LTFRB-CAR should not have accepted the filing of new franchise applications and caused the grant of the same, thus, further congesting traffic in the city. Unfortunately it did, thereby accounting for the thousands of illegally issued franchises conveying at great risk the riding public in the city and BLIST.