By Joseph B.A. Marzan
Iloilo Governor Arthur Defensor Jr. on Thursday assured the public that the provincial government is talking to the city government in the hope of sorting out public transportation routes.
This, as the city’s Local Public Transport Route Plan (LPTRP) has omitted certain routes between the city and the immediate neighboring towns of Leganes, Oton, Pavia, and San Miguel.
In his regular press conference, Defensor said that the province’s LPTRP is still “in development” by the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) even as they continue to talk with the city.
Metro Iloilo Transport Service Cooperative (MITSCOOP) chair Joemarie Delos Reyes on Wednesday said that the public transport system may be overwhelmed by the volume of passenger transits between city and provincial jeepneys at designated terminals.
If Iloilo City enforces its transport plan, provincial jeepneys will not be allowed to enter the city as some routes were already deleted in the new plan. This could result in provincial passengers resorting to multiple rides to reach their destinations in the city.
Delos Reyes owed the looming problem to the lack of an approved LPTRP from the provincial government.
“[Iloilo province’s LPTRP] is in progress right now. The PPDO has been doing it, but it is developing [because] we continue to dialogue with the city and the national government. That is why we haven’t finalized it yet,” Defensor said.
Defensor also confirmed that the PPDO would be meeting with city and municipal government officials and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
“We don’t [have a timeline yet as to the LPTRP and the dialogues], but we have to rationalize the entry of public transport from the province to the city,” he said.
Chairpersons of the transportation committees in Iloilo City and Iloilo province’s legislative bodies also weighed in on the current fears of the local public transport sector.
Provincial Board Member Ramon Sullano (Philippine Councilors’ League) said that the Sangguniang Panlalawigan on Tuesday deferred from passing a resolution asking the Iloilo City government to clarify details and delay implementation of the latter’s LPTRP.
Sullano said that the provincial board still needed data before it can ask the city to delay the implementation of its new transportation routes.
“I called the PPDO [on Wednesday], and they confirmed that we would meet [on Friday] afternoon, together with the City Planning and Development Officer, and the LTFRB. So, we will talk about the proper course there,” Sullano said.
“At this time, our drivers and operators would have already recovered [to their pre-pandemic] income, and now comes the rise of oil prices because of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. We are seeking, if possible, that the city could set aside first its implementation [of their LPTRP],” he added.
Iloilo City Councilor Romel Duron, on the other hand, said that questions on the city’s LPTRP should be referred to the LTFRB.
“Our only move was [to have the LPTRP] approved with the LTFRB. Maybe you should ask the LTFRB, and not me. The LPTRP of Iloilo City is for the city only, not of Pavia, not of Leganes, not of Oton. They should come up with their own [LPTRP] and have them also approved by the LTFRB,” Duron told Daily Guardian in a phone interview.
Duron also allayed fears that the city’s ordinance on the LPTRP will replace the Perimeter Boundary Ordinance (Regulation Ordinance No. 2013-344, as amended).
“The LPTRP merely specifies how many routes we have in the city of Iloilo. We haven’t touched on or amended the Perimeter Boundary Ordinance, and unless there would be an amendment, it would be impossible for [provincial jeepneys] not to enter [Iloilo City]. It’s not in our plans yet,” he said.
Monica Acha of the Province of Iloilo Transport Service Cooperative (PITRANSCO) told Daily Guardian said that there are 107 jeepney units from Pavia that enter Iloilo City via two major routes.
Acha said these units may be affected by the implementation of the city’s LPTRP as the two routes are already phased out in the new plan.