By PET MELLIZA/ The Beekeeper
A mini-bus touring pre-schoolers from Passi, Iloilo was blocked in Jaro and prevented from proceeding to the pier, final leg of the educational tour where the kids were booked for lunch.
The kids’ guide, a pastor, was heard on air pleading for city authorities to relax the Perimeter Boundary Ordinance (PBO) that restricted provincial PUJs within private terminals at the city’s outskirts and in the public Super Market area. A councilor in charge of the traffic denied their request to get to the port. He croaked, looked and thought like a frog in invoking the “dungog” of Iloilo City; he felt insulted when outsiders “violated our ordinances”. “Ginahimu lang kita nga kaladlawan,” he croaked.
A mini-busload of tourists missed lunch and proceeded to southern Iloilo. That day, a restaurant missed an income catering to the visitors.
A traffic aide at the UPV junction flagged down an Iloilo – Leganes jeepney to help an elderly woman with instruction to the driver where to drop her off. Unbeknownst to the enforcer, the man who croaked like a frog was tailing behind. The frog growled at the traffic aide, ordering him to contact colleagues ahead to intercept because the driver stopped at a no loading zone.
The Leganes jeepney driver remonstrated that it was a traffic aide himself who flagged him down to accommodate a senior citizen. He went to Aksyon Radyo castigating the frog. Commentators joined the fray by lecturing traffic enforcers and the frog that they under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act or RA 9994 were mandated to provide the elderly access to transportation facilities which the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) liberally interpreted to mean exemption from compliance with loading/unloading signs. The Leganes jeepney driver rightly stopped in non-designated zones to pick up or drop off eldery commuters.
Three buses from Concepcion, Iloilo were transporting domestic tourists to southern Iloilo. Avoiding the main roads in Jaro, they cut through Pavia town via Mandurriao, Iloilo City en route to Brgy. Pakiad, Oton.
The traffic enforcers apprehended them because they violated the PBO, they entered the city sans “car pass”. The drivers argued they were exempted because they were on “special trip”. At any rate, they were allowed to pass, but after much delay.
Ten jeeploads of students from Leon National High School were en route to a hotel-resort in Jaro, Iloilo City. They were detained and prevented from proceeding. No less than Mayor Romulo Cabana interceded on phone to allow his constituents to proceed because they were already booked at the hotel where they were to hold a JS prom. To no avail. The students and the organizers called off the event in disgust.
A hotel lost 10 jeeploads of patrons that night all because officialdom of Iloilo City refused enlightenment.
When you apply for a franchise to operate a PUJ or taxi, you have to file a petition which will be published in a newspaper. A hearing is held for petitioner to prove that the franchise is justified. The hearing officer next issues an order granting or denying the petition. The favorable order specifies, in case of buses and jeepneys, their routes whether single or dual.
For example, the franchise granted a petitioner to operate a jeepney may carry the qualification “Januiay – Iloilo only” or “Januiay-Iloilo and to any point of Panay”. The public carrier with dual franchise may go on “special trips” to other points of Panay on charter.
That was the kind of franchise granted the mini-bus touring the pre-schoolers from Passi City, the three buses transporting domestic tourists to southern Iloilo, and the 10 Leon jeepneys carrying students to their JS prom.
The Land Transportation and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) performs a quasi-judicial function when it hears petitions for franchise. Are simians at the Iloilo City council empowered to overrule through the PBO the LTFRB decision granting public carriers franchise to operate single or dual routes in Iloilo City or to any point of Panay?
When a local ordinance clashes with the orders of the LTFRB found in the franchise, which prevails? We have lawyers at the city council and they should know that the LTFRB decision cannot be repealed by an LGU.