Bacolod becomes the second highly-urbanized city in the Philippines to have its new local route plan approved by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
Mayor Evelio Leonardia handed over the Local Public Transportation Route Plan to LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III, in a ceremony attended by transport group members and city officials at the Bacolod City Government Center lobby Jan. 12.
LTFRB regional director Richard Osmeña, who also attended the ceremony, said Bacolod’s plan of 24 routes and 1,099 units is “another milestone for the City of Smiles.”
The push for the LGU to prepare an LPTRP is part of the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program of the Department of Transportation and LTFRB that aims to provide safe, adequate, accessible, environment-friendly, and comfortable public transport to the general public and a long-term solution to the “worsening public transportation situation in the country.”
Delgra dubbed the PUVMP as “more than a milestone,” not only for Bacolod, but for the entire country, being the largest non-infrastructure project of the Duterte administration.
The LTFRB needs the help of the local government to make it happen, he added.
“The work that we need to do in having to modernize our public transport system does not rest only on the LTFRB or DOTr. We have partners to make this happen. Among the partners and sectors that we need to work closely with is the LGU,” he said in a press release from the city Jan. 13.
“We cannot do it alone insofar as having to plan routes. The LGU is more than capable to address the local transport needs of its constituents. They know how people move, where people move, how many people move at any given time in a locality, more so in a highly-urbanized city like Bacolod,” he said.
Delgra also acknowledged the fact that Bacolod, being one of the best HUCs in the Philippines, will see rapid growth in the future.
“As vibrant and prosperous as it is, it will continue to grow and grow rapidly,” said Delgra as he extended the agency’s appeal for the transport sector to work with them to fast-track a comprehensive and transformative modernization program.
The PUVMP is slowly becoming a reality in Bacolod and will continue to expand as the LGU continues to develop, he added.
“This is just a start. As the city grows in the coming years, you will need more routes and more units to attend to the needs of your constituents.
“This route plan is reflective of the priority of the City of Bacolod to push for modernization of our public transport system. Soon, the people will see Bacolod not just as a vibrant and prosperous city, but a modern city to be proud of, insofar as public transportation system is concerned,” Delgra said.
A memorandum circular to start the routes will follow as soon as the ordinance reaches Manila, he added.
Leonardia lauded the efforts of the City Planning and Development Office in developing the LPTRP that lived up to the expectations of the national agency.
“This route plan is a statement that Bacolod is, indeed, progressing to greater heights. This is just one of the many plans that we envision to make our city more livable; a city that can and will take action to address the needs of our people,” he added.
The units and routes included in the ordinance were carefully studied by the DOTr. The agency also used the data that it gathered through surveys conducted with passengers as respondents.
Prior to the approval of the ordinance, Leonardia issued Executive Order No. 10 in 2019 that pushed for the creation of the Bacolod City Local Public Transport Route Plan team and committee, spearheaded by City Planning and Development Office chief Mary Jean Ramos.
Councilor Dindo Ramos, chairman of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Transportation and Traffic, is the main proponent of City Ordinance No. 966 that adopts the Local Public Transport Route Plan and provides the policies and guidelines for its implementation and other purposes.
Ramos said he hopes that the initial route plan will take off this year as the city eyes to open more in the future. | NND