Cordillera Transportation and Internet Concerns – Members of the Cordillera RDC- Infracom chaired by DPWH-CAR Regional Director Khadaffy Tanngol meets to discuss ICT and transport concerns including request for the extension of the deadline for the application of consolidation of PUVs under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) of the Department of Transportation.

The Cordillera Infrastructure Development Committee (InfraCom) in its third quarter meeting on August 2 approved the endorsement to the Regional Development Council (RDC-CAR) the request of the Baguio City Sangguniang Panglungsod for a resolution supporting the extension of the deadline for filing of the applications for the consolidation of the public utility vehicles (PUVs).  It also endorsed the installation of a high-speed broadband internet connection for the capitol building in Bontoc, Mt. Province as one of the priority projects of the DICT.

Baguio City Councilor Benny Bomogao said that some transport groups in the city encountered problems that hindered them from filing their applications for consolidation on the set deadline of the Land Transportation and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) last March 31, 2021 in compliance with Department of the Transportation Department Order No. 2017-011. A group of 28 PUV driver-operators was able to consolidate themselves but was not able to beat the last deadline.

The deadline for filing of application was already extended thrice from the original March 18, 2019 deadline per DOTR MC 2018-008. The first extension was to June 30, 2020 per DOTR MC 2019-066, the second was to December 31,2020 per LTFRB BR 62 and BR 100 series of 2020, and the third was to March 31,2021 per DOTR MC 2020-084.

LTFRB-CAR OIC-Regional Director Lalaine E. Sobremonte said that under Memorandum Circular 2021-021, transport groups who failed to file their application for consolidation on the March 31,2021 deadline are allowed to operate under a Provisional Authority issued by the LTFRB which is valid for one year. These groups are given one year to acquire Omnibus Franchising Guideline (OFG) compliant units for them to join the consolidated entities who applied before the deadline.

The Committee approved the endorsement of the request to the RDC with the recommendation to expand the coverage to the whole region.

DICT LC 1 Regional Director Nestor Bongato presented a proposal from the ICT sub-committee requesting the DICT Central Office to include as a priority project, the installation of high-speed broadband internet connection for the capitol building in Bontoc, Mountain Province. The project is in-line with the National Broadband Plan of the government aiming to bring equitable communications technology infrastructure to the unserved and underserved communities, and other remote and far-flung areas of the country. Once established, it will improve digital access for the offices located at the Provincial Capitol of Mountain Province.

Engr. Alexander Badua of DICT LC1 reported that under the “Free Wi-fi for All” program, 150 active sites are already established that provides free wi-fi in the Cordillera Region. For 2021, DICT targets an additional 195 sites for COVID-19 facilities,68 site for Managed Internet Services project to be put up in Ifugao and Mt. Province, 1 site for Point-of-Presence in Baguio City and 6 sites for Municipal IP Transport in the province of Ifugao.

The Infracom is a support committed of the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC-Car) which is chaired by DPWH-CAR Regional Director Khadaffy Tanggol with National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA-CAR) as its committee secretariat.

By Bob Lyndon B. Daroya