MOTC minister discusses ministry’s vision, mission, mandate, challenges and solutions

COTABATO CITY — The minister of  Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) Minister Dickson P. Hermoso has discussed the ministry’s vision, mission, and mandate as well as their challenges and solutions during the 28th episode of Kaunlaran sa Bangsamoro hosted by Bangsamoro Multimedia Network last Thursday, December 02, 2021.
MOTC Minister Hermoso, a retired army colonel, former spokesperson of the 6th Infantry Division and used to be an assistant secretary at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), said MOTC is a combination of the Transportation and Information Communications Technology departments.

“The Regional Economy and Patrimony under Article 13 of the Bangsamoro Autonomous Act this is teleportation and communication. Sec. 38 on transportation, the Bangsamoro government shall have the authority to grant regional franchises, licenses, and permits to land, sea, and air transportation, flying routes in the provinces or cities within the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region,” he explained.
Dickson elaborated that the National Government shall regulate the air-side operation of all existing airports, thus the job of the MOTC is, “Land-side only.”
“Meaning the terminal, tarmac, concessionaire area, and parking area, towers and runway, that’s air-side, the National government is in-charge,” he clearly explained.
“The Autonomous government has an authority stated in the law, first is to “regulate transportation in the zones of joint cooperation in the Sulu Sea and Moro Gulf, subject to the provision or section 19 of this article. Another is the registration of land, water, and air transportation operating exclusively within the Bangsamoro region. And last for the transportation, it exercises quasi-judicial powers over the operation of land and water transportation in the region in accordance with the rules of procedure established by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority,” he further explained.
On the mandates on Communications, he said, “The Bangsamoro Government shall have the authority to grant regional franchises, licenses and permits to telecommunications utilities whose frequencies are confined to and whose main offices are located within the region, however, it provides also that nothing shall be construed as limiting in any way the power of the Congress of the Philippines to grant national franchises in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region.”
Dickson put emphasis on the authority of the Bangsamoro government in transportation and communication, citing, “The issuance of certificates of public convenience, and necessity.”
“Special permits and provisional authority to operate telecommunications companies in the Bangsamoro region. Number two is the registration of telecommunications companies in the Bangsamoro region and lastly, it exercises quasi-judicial powers over the operation of telecommunications companies in the Bangsamoro autonomous region in accordance with the rules of procedures established by the parliament or BTA,” he added.
According to Hermoso, the vision and mission of the MOTC shares that of the Bansgamoro governments’ vision of a “Bangsamoro that is united, enlightened, self-governing, peaceful, just, morally upright, and progressive in Bangsamoro government that has genuine and meaningful autonomy guided by Moral Governance.”
He said their mission is, “To enable the safe, orderly, timely, and economical movement of people and goods and delivery of information.”
On the MOTC’s mandate, he said, “The ministry shall be the primary policy, planning, programming, coordinating, implementing, regulating, and administrative entity of the Executive Branch under the Hon. Chief Minister, Ahod Balawag Ebrahim, in the promotion, development and regulation of dependable and coordinated networks of transportation and communication systems as well as fast, efficient, and reliable transportation and communication services.”
Hermoso mentioned the seven sectors or agencies under their office which in the national these are called Bureaus. “The Land Transportation Services, it is under the LTFRB and Land Transportation Office.  The Sea Transportation Services are the MARINA and Ports Management Authority. In Communication, we have the counterpart of the National Telecommunications Commission, this is the Regional Telecommunications Commission and it has the Information Communications Technology that went in the Interim under the Office of the Chief Minister so all and all we have seven agencies plus the ICT and soon if transferred it will be eight.”
“And it is backed-up by several divisions: we have the Admin and Finance, we have the Legal, we have the Technical, the Engineering, so that we can support the operations of these mentioned sectors,” he continued.
“The most challenging sector under the ministry is the Land Transportation Office because as we all know there were really unpleasant things that happened in the past and that is our challenge with my Director II, Datunor G. Abutazil, and Director I, Anwar A. Upahm. Now, my answer is simple - to address these unpleasant events before because there are people, their finger is in the ‘cookie jar’ and this causes wrong impressions to our people, that is computerization. Now computerization is our direction that is supported by the Bangsamoro Transition Authority and by the Executive Branch, this is acquiring of high end computers.”
“Because I don’t want that the people who applies for license for registration of their vehicles is directing to the tellers or cashier of LTO to pay; this is where the unpleasant event starts. They must go and pay this to the bank, there’s PayMaya or various platforms where they could just bring the receipt or proof of their payment. That is what we’re aiming for computerization but I need infrastructure. Not just for LTO that goes the same with other sectors,” he broadly elaborated.
Dickson took the opportunity to explain to the public, “The IT Provider of LTO Nationwide, we just signed STRADCOM last week, that they will extend their expertise because this is really the LTO is using although their contract already lapsed and LTO entered a different provider for their MIS-- Information System, this is the DERMALOG, but they haven’t perfected it yet so I go for the one in place so that I won’t need to establish an infrastructure.”
“Last week the Bongao-LTO was already turned over to LTO-BARMM and it’s operational, following—before the end of the month of the year, would be the Lamitan City LTO, and on January 6, 2022, we will have a turnover of LTO-Cotabato so we are preparing for it and this is I could guarantee to all the employees organic to these LTO offices under the National Government, they will continue their services,” he announced.
The MOTC minister further explained the issues he observed since he took the position last 2019, “We have a lot of ‘colorum’ vehicles, drivers of two or four wheeled vehicles who don’t have licenses. We will change this because we need to be in the safe side which means they should have a license and the vehicle shall be franchised, because I am not a reactive person, I am proactive.”
“If there’s any problem, then we would be on the side where we won’t lose if there are cases, we will have insurance. We have strategies next year, we will have an information drive for all the drivers that licenses are delinquent or no license at all and unregistered vehicles, then if there are problems, no one will regret it at the end,” he further explained.
“If we can’t follow the law, while others can follow it, that’s called anarchy. So whether we’re rich or poor, let us follow the law, so there’s order,” he underscored.
Dickson also mentioned the national agencies operating in the BARMM and were already transferred such as the LTO, LTFRB, MARINA, Regional Ports Authority, CAAP and CAB. These agencies will undergo the process of transfer of property and assets, transfer of power and function, systems application, and continuing of programs and projects .
“You see our Awang Airport, they’re fixing the terminal and soon to be finished, the alignment correction of runway was done, and there’s incoming huge port project the asphalt overlay, and all of the airports and seaports found in the BARMM is being fixed, and the National Government is helping us,” he narrated.
“As for the Telecommunications, this is one of our challenges because as you can see in the Development Index, performance were bad and I can’t blame the BARMM for it because for the last five decades that we were having an armed conflict and we’ve been left behind and we’re coping up and the national government sees that and they’re helping that it’s just that infrastructure for the telecommunication is very expensive,” the minister explained.
Dickson said, “We talked to providers of connectivity; there’s no problem in connectivity here in the landlocked area like Lanao Del Sur, Maguindanao, the 63 barangays in North Cotabato, the problem is to connect the regional government to the Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi area because we can’t satellites and Fiber Optic but only towers with limitations, but anyway I am focusing on this matter. So that the distance will no longer be a problem, technology will connect us to each other.