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PBO bane to Iloilo City’s tourism?

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

THE Department of Tourism (DoT) and a tourist bus operator slammed traffic managers in Iloilo City for being “unfriendly” to the tourism sector.

DOT regional director Edwin Trompeta riled at the deliberate refusal of the Traffic Technical Working Group (TTWG) and Traffic Management and Engineering Unit (TMEU) to allow a tourist bus to enter the city and fetch a group of tourism officers.

Trompeta said the Iloilo Tourism Officers Association (ITOA) tried to secure a permit from the TTWG to allow a bus of Philippine Visitors, Investors Services and Assistance, Inc. (Philvisa) to fetch them from a hotel and tour the city and province of Iloilo.

The DoT official said the tour was part of ITOA’s seminar in Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center last week.

But Trompeta claimed the TTWG did not act on the application nor did it inform ITOA on the status of its request for special permit.

Buses and other public utility vehicles are barred from entering the city because of the perimeter boundary ordinance (PBO).

“What happened was that 80 tourism officers boarded passenger jeepneys to the terminal in Pavia where the Philvisa bus was waiting. What happened is not very good for the tourism sector of Iloilo City,” Trompeta said.

Max Sorbito, Philvisa manager, said they learned that TTWG did not act on the special permit because the TMEU lacks personnel that will direct traffic when the bus goes around the city.

Sorbito said the actuation of the TTWG will drive away tourists and investors from Iloilo City.

Trompeta said the millions of pesos spent by the Iloilo City government to promote the city as tourism destination will go to waste if visitors find it hard to go around the metropolis.

The Iloilo City Council, through the committee on transportation and communication, turned Philvisa’s bid to ply the Iloilo airport-Iloilo City route because it runs counter to the PBO.

Taxi groups in Iloilo City opposed Philvisa’s operations in Iloilo City saying it will reduce their passengers.

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By Jeehan V. Fernandez

 

THE Iloilo City Government and Land Transportation Office (LTO) will ink a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to settle disagreement on the confiscation of the licenses of erring drivers.

 

The LTO regional office earlier declared that it has the sole authority to confiscate drivers’ license, not the City Hall.

 

But the city’s Traffic Management and Engineering Unit (Tmeu) has been confiscating drivers’ licenses for violating local traffic ordinances.

 

Mayor Jerry Treñas, who chairs the League of Cities of the Philippines (LCP), lobbied with LTO chief Arturo Lomibao to resolve the conflict which affected ordinary drivers of public utility jeepneys.

 

Treñas even threatened to have LTO enforcers arrested by the police if they continue to undermine the City government’s power to apprehend erring drivers. 

 

Yesterday, LTO sent three lawyers – Edgar Cabase, Roberto Valera and Benjamin Mori to discuss the conflict and possible solutions with Treñas.

 

Lawyer Jesus Duque, chief of trial division of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), mediated between City Hall and LTO officials during the discussions on the matter.

 

“The agreement will be finalized in writing. The City Council will authorize me to sign the agreement which stipulates that the city will continue to apprehend violators of traffic ordinances here,” Treñas said.

 

Treñas expects to sign the MOA with Lomibao in the presence of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and other city mayors during the LCP conference in Manila Thursday.

 

“We have the assurance of LTO that in the meantime that the MOA is not yet signed and confirmed by the City Council, they (LTO) will no longer operate (and) say that the TOP (temporary operator’s permit) of the city is not valid,” Treñas added.

 

He said the LTO will deputize city traffic aids to apprehend and confiscate licenses of drivers who violate city traffic rules using either the LTO or City Hall TOP.

 

Treñas said the City Hall will also be allowed to detail one bonded personnel from the City Treasurer’s Office to collect payments for penalties of drivers when claiming their licenses from LTO.

 

By Jeehan V. Fernandez

 

ILOILO City Mayor Jerry Treñas was piqued by the loan shark issue which was blamed for the delayed salaries of traffic aides last month.

 

But Treñas dismissed the presence of loan sharks supposedly feasting on the traffic aides’ salaries even as he warned to use an iron hand on complaining traffic personnel.

 

Councilor Erwin Plagata earlier claimed that loan sharks colluded with some Traffic Management and Engineering Unit personnel to delay the salaries of traffic aides, forcing them to borrow money at prohibitive interest rates. 

 

The mayor, meanwhile, clarified said the City Government wants the traffic aides to show their drug test results first before they can get their salaries.

 

“It’s not true (referring to loan sharks). There was a delay on their salaries because of late submission of their drug test results which is very necessary considering their big responsibility on the streets,” the mayor explained.

 

City Hall requires traffic aides to undergo drug tests as requirement for applications or renewal of contracts following reports of involvement of some traffic aides with the illegal drugs trade.

 

A check with the City Accountant Office showed the traffic aides’ payroll was submitted Monday and their salaries were released Tuesday.

 

Instead of investigating the loan shark issue, Treñas said he will impose strict rules on erring traffic aides.

 

“We used to give leeway to traffic aides. We have given them as much time as we can but we will be very strict with them now – everything will be black and white. There are always complaints but if they are not happy with their jobs they should resign,” he said.

 

Treñas noted that a traffic aide was arrested and jailed after asking money from a teacher weeks ago.

 

City Hall has in its payroll some 300 traffic aides.

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