By: Francis Allan L. Angelo
A GROUP of taxi operators in Iloilo is asking the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to reconsider its decision of recalling the issuance of 350 new taxi franchises in Western Visayas.
The group of led by Perfecto Yap, president of the Association of Taxi Operators in Panay (Atop), through legal counsel Joseph Vincent Go, also a taxi operator, filed the motion for reconsideration with the LTFRB central office in Quezon City last March 12, 2012.
Earlier, another taxi group, the Iloilo United Taxi Drivers Association, opposed the issuance of 350 new taxi franchises citing shrinking number of passengers and income and traffic congestion, especially in Iloilo City.
The case stemmed from Memorandum Circular No. 2011-005-A issued by the LTFRB central office then chaired by Atty. Nelson Laluces on June 1, 2011 which approved the opening of new taxi franchises in Region 6.
The reason for the opening of the new franchise slots is the decrease in the number of air-conditioned taxis due to non-renewal, abandonment and dropping of existing franchises.
But on December 14, 2011, the new LTFRB board headed by Atty. Jaime D. Jacob cancelled the 350 new franchises by recalling MC No. 2011-005-A through MC No. 2011-016.
The new board also directed the LTFRB-6 regional office to implement the order and submit a list of certificates of public convenience (CPC) issued pursuant to MC No. 2011-005-A.
LTFRB regional director Romulo Bernardes on January 5, 2012 issued Regional MC No. 2012-001 in keeping with MC No. 2011-016, which in effect recalled the CPCs for 70 new taxi units owned by the 13 taxi operators.
‘No due process’
In their motion for reconsideration, the taxi operators claimed that the recall of their franchises violated their right to due process.
The operators said the LTFRB central office recalled their CPCs sans notice and hearing.
“It must be underscored that the CPCs issued to the applicants cannot summarily be cancelled or revoked without due process of law,” the petitioners said, citing various laws and jurisprudence.
The operators said that they all spent a total of P42 million for the purchase of 70 new taxi units priced at P600,000 each, more or less.
They added that the recall of their new franchises will cause “substantial loss, undue damage and injury” to them since they have yet to recover their investments and pay their loans when MC Nos. 2011-016 and 2012-001 were issued.
Aside from Perfecto Yap, the other petitioners are Ellen Mae B. Supapo, Wilfredo A. Po Sr., Wilfredo B. Po, Arturo D. Savella Jr., Corazon B. Yoro, Alona Aliguin, Lore F. Senoson, Ramon Espia Jr., Lina S. Navarra, Jose Antonio Rivilla, Samson Fernandez and Melvin Odicta.