MAYOR BENJAMIN B. Magalong has reiterated his opposition to the issuance of new taxi franchises in Baguio, citing an oversupply of the transport service in the city especially in light of restricted movements to mitigate the coronavirus outbreak. “While the City Government had been taking advantage of the transportation lull to better vehicular traffic in Baguio, some sectors appear to be doing the reverse during these times of pandemic,” the local government said in a statement on Wednesday after the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) reopened the application for 200 taxi franchises that have expired or been abandoned. “LTFRB never consulted the local government,” Mr. Magalong said, “Baguio would continue to interpose strongest objections against introduction of new taxis intended to ply city streets.” The franchises cover services “for Baguio City, La Trinidad, Benguet to any point in Cordillera Administrative Region.” The mayor said traffic enforcers have noted that “additional taxi units would further turn vehicular traffic in the city from bad to worse.” The Baguio-Benguet Taxi Drivers Association has also filed a petition against the LTFRB’s move. “The existing 5,000 taxi services more or less, are not fully operational due to the government restrictions imposed on PUVs (public utility vehicles)… At this time, there is actually a glut or an oversupply of taxi services in the city,” the group said. The Baguio City council has also expressed opposition to more taxis through various resolutions.
10,000 Caviteños to participate in clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines from UK, US
AROUND 10,000 residents of Cavite province will participate in clinical trials for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines from two pharmaceutical companies in the United States and United Kingdom, Governor Juanito Victor C. Remulla said on Thursday. In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Mr. Remulla said the two “pharmaceutical giants” are nearing phase 3 of their field trial, which will include the 10,000 volunteer recipients of the experimental vaccine. The local chief executive, however, did not say when the trial is expected to take place. He also declined to identify the two pharmaceutical firms. He also expressed reservations on reports that Russia has already developed a COVID-19 vaccine. “The Russian data is unavailable, their methodology is not open and its efficacy has not been subject to a review and analysis,” Mr. Remulla said. — Emmanuel Tupas/PHILSTAR