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LTFRB to review policy on expired taxi franchises

First Posted 10:13:00 03/18/2010

THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has put on hold the acceptance of applications for new taxi franchises.

LTFRB Chairman Alberto Suansing said there is ?a need to carefully review and thoroughly study? details of Memorandum Circular No. 2009-035 which allows LTFRB officials to receive abandoned and expired certificates of public convenience (CPC) or franchises.

?Thus, the acceptance of application under Memorandum Circular 2009-035 is hereby suspended pending review and study by this board of the data of every region and until further order of this board,? a separate LTFRB memorandum signed by Suansing states.

According to the LTFRB website, a franchise is a permit ?authorizing the operation of public land transportation services provided by motorized vehicles, and to prescribe the appropriate terms and conditions therefore.?

The memorandum disallowing LTFRB?s acceptance of applications for taxi franchises was submitted to the Regional Trial Court Branch 9.

Four Cebu City taxi operators filed charges in court against four LTFRB officials last month for implementing the ?Opening of Application For Appropriation of Abandoned and/or Expired CPCs in the Regional Offices? memorandum.

In their complaint, the taxi operators asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order against the officials who continued to receive applications for ?abandoned and expired? franchises. Through their lawyer, they asked the court to declare Memorandum Circular No. 2009-035, which the LTFRB issued last Dec. 21, 2009 ?null and void.?

Named respondents to the case were Suansing, LTFRB national members Gerardo Pinili and Ellen Dirige-Cabatu, and the board's Central Visayas director Romulo Bernardes.

The complainants were Richard Cabucos, president of the Metro Cebu Taxi Operators Association (MCTOA), Peter Corominas, Marites White, and Jonald Ungab.

Legitimizing expired franchises would result in ?chaos, overcrowding and ruinous competition, in effect destroying the taxi business,? the complainants said.

The taxi operators said that the memorandum circular was published in a newspaper which that is unknown in Cebu.

They said LTRFB memorandum circular should be published in a newspaper of general circulation as mandated by law.

The plaintiffs said it was only on Jan. 18, 2010 that Bernardes furnished them the documents about the memorandum circular.

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