Naga City shows way in managing transport terminal
NAGA CITY—With its good governance practices in place, courtesy of the late Jesse Robredo who served as its mayor for 19 years, Naga City has developed a template of an enterprise to improve local transport service and, at the same time, increase government income.
Florencio Mongoso Jr., city administrator, says the experience of the city government in running the central bus terminal (CBT) may be replicated elsewhere.
“The operation of the CBT is not complicated for a local government to learn but the income that can be derived [from it] is significant to improve the overall income generation [of a town or a city],” he says.
So much has changed since the component city (population: nearly 180,000 as of 2010) took over the management and operation of the government-owned terminal almost two years ago. The facility had been leased out for nine years to a private contractor, FPM Corp., which is owned by Fortunato Mendoza.
Since the takeover, income from the facility has risen more than 150 percent, or from P16 million to P40 million in a year, Mongoso says, despite the removal of toilet fees and the free parking spaces.
The CBT was built on a P15-million loan that Naga took out from the World Bank during the administration of Mayor Sulpicio Roco Jr. While it was originally meant to be privatized, the city government had not been keen on opening its operation for bidding.
“If ever the city government decides to reopen its bidding for the CBT operation, the standard will be higher for a bidder to comply with,” Vice Mayor Nelson Legacion says. Legacion, a lawyer, is among those who stood in court to defend the decision of the city government to take over the management and administration of the CBT from FPM Corp.
After a legal battle with FPM Corp., which questioned the propriety of the city government’s move on the basis of an old ordinance, the city took control of the CBT on Jan. 17, 2014.
Mendoza had earlier filed criminal and administrative cases against city officials in the Office of the Ombudsman, aside from asking the court to issue temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the takeover.
After the TRO lapsed, Mendoza again applied for a writ of injunction, which the court dismissed on Jan. 16, 2014.
The Ombudsman dismissed Mendoza’s criminal and administrative cases against the city officials on June 26, 2015.
A study submitted by Francisco Mendoza, acting manager of the CBT, to the city council showed that for the use of four toilets alone, FPM Corp. could have earned about P1.4 million from collecting fees of P5 per person. Based on its fee collections of at least P40 per passenger from bus companies, FPM could have earned at least P18.8 million a year.
The city government chose to waive these income sources in favor of public welfare by implementing standards in CBT operations.
Operating 24/7, 31 employees are now deployed to man the routes of buses and receive fees paid by transport companies. Terminal workers outside of the local government payroll, including mechanics, porters, cleaners and vendors, were organized for efficient management.
Mendoza, the acting manager, says that after deducting about P10 million in operational and administrative costs, the city now generates a net income of at least P30 million.
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