City council asserts legality of transport hub inside Megaworld Iloilo Business Park

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TRANSPORTATION Secretary Arthur P. Tugade (in cap) on board a P2P bus from Iloilo International Airport to the Megaworld Transport Hub when he came to town on Aug. 7, in the aftermath of the Iloilo Strait tragedy where three wooden motorboats capsized and 31 people died. — DOTR PHOTO

THE ILOILO City council has declared the transport hub inside Megaworld Corp.’s Iloilo Business Park legal based on local regulation and as confirmed by the legal office. Two transport groups have questioned the transport terminal as well as the operation of point-to-point (P2P) buses to and from the Iloilo International Airport in Cabatuan, a town just outside the city. “It must be emphasized that the operation of the Megaworld Transport Hub was clothed with legal color by virtue of Regulation Ordinance No. 2019-110. This ordinance has binding effect, general application and presumed valid, unless and until there is contrary pronouncement from the proper authorities as to its invalidity or what it is repealed or amended by subsequent legislation by Sanggunian (council) concerned,” said Councilor Rommel D. Duron in a committee report released on Tuesday.

Mr. Duron, chair of the committee on transportation, energy, and public utilities, said they also sought the opinion of the City Legal Office (CLO) on the matter. “We referred it to the City Legal Office (CLO), the opinion of the CLO is it is legal and valid. The city council can amend the ordinance they previously approved or even repealed… we adopted their opinion in our committee report,” he said.

The New Iloilo Airport Transport Association and Association (NIATA) and the Association of Taxi Operators in Panay (ATOP) earlier submitted opposition to the provisional authority granted by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to Southwest Travel and Tours to operate three routes: Iloilo City to Iloilo International Airport; Iloilo City to Caticlan; and Iloilo City to Kalibo. NIATA and ATOP said the license granted to Southwest Tours violates the Perimeter Boundary Ordinance of Iloilo City, which mandates the control and regulation of the entry of public utility jeepneys, cargo vans and buses from other parts of Iloilo province and other neighboring provinces. “(The) Perimeter Boundary Ordinance was passed to decongest the traffic, but current P2P cannot directly cause traffic because of their limited frequency, but if they do so, we will still regulate it in the council,” Mr. Duron said. The councilor said the transport groups can “go to court” if they do not agree with the committee report. “(B)ecause of the fast development here, what we are trying to do is to balance the interest of the investors and the public welfare,” he said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo