Cebu City dad proposes measure to preserve ‘tartanillas’



A CEBU City councilor has proposed an ordinance that aims to regulate the operation of “tartanillas” or the traditional horse-drawn carriages plying the city’s roads.

Cebu City Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover Jr. told SunStar Cebu Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022, that “kutseros,” or operators of the tartanillas, have been left behind and not given enough attention by the city government.

In the proposed ordinance, the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Fisheries (DVMF) is tasked with conducting seminars to maintain the upkeep of the horses and provide free voluntary checkups for them every six months.

The other provision in the proposed ordinance is for the Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO) to identify routes in line with the city’s heritage sites so that the tartanillas will be part of the city’s tourism industry.

Alcover’s legislation also tasked the Cebu City Tourism Office with partnering kutseros with the city’s accredited tour guides so they can work together in promoting tourism destinations.

The councilor said in an interview that tartanillas had been left behind by the time.

“They should be preserved because they are part of our history as they were used by our forefathers as a mode of transportation,” Alcover said in Cebuano.

According to Alcover, there are now fewer than 100 tartanillas plying the roads, a significant decrease compared to the thousands of units many years ago.

In a separate interview, DVMF head Dr. Jessica Maribojoc said their office has been providing veterinary services twice a year to horses being used by the city’s kutseros.

However, the services were halted this year due to the delay in the arrival of the medicine for horses.

Maribojoc said they are planning to resume the service this November.

Maribojoc further said that tartanillas in the city are decreasing in number since the owners opted to sell their horses as they couldn’t afford to feed them.

In Alcover’s ordinance, a budget of P1 million is appropriated for the purchase of veterinary medicine intended for horses.

Fare matrix

In the same proposed ordinance, the city’s kutseros are required to put up a fare matrix in the visible parts of the front and back panels of the tartanilla to ensure that their passengers know the fare.

A rate of P200 per hour is set for a tourist package, or P50 per person from the point of origin going to any tourist or heritage site.

For a tartanilla’s traditional routes, the minimum rate is P10 per passenger.

The maximum passenger capacity of each tartanilla is six people, including the driver.

Kutseros are required by the ordinance to install receptacles for manure to prevent their horses from littering the road.

The legislation also identified both sides of Leon Kilat Street in downtown Cebu City as the regular routes of the tartanillas.

For tourist trips, the designated parking areas will be in the open space near the Parian Monument, Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and Fort San Pedro.

The proposed ordinance, which was presented to the City Council during its regular session on Wednesday, Oct. 5, was referred to the committee on laws, the committee on tourism, and the committee on animal welfare for further deliberations.