Poe to LTFRB: Accredit compliant TNVS applications

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Sen. Grace Poe

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 3) — The Senate Committee on Public Services on Thursday urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to accredit pending Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) applications compliant with the requirements.

In a hearing on Thursday, committee chair Sen. Grace Poe said the LTFRB could provide rules on accreditation while waiting for a law that would regulate Transport Network Companies (TNC).

"Marami naman silang pwedeng gawin, halimbawa…i-accredit na nila yung mga wala namang problema sa accreditation papers nila," Poe said.

[Translation: They can do a lot, for example, the LTFRB could accredit those who don't have problems with their accreditation papers.]

TNCs Uber and Grab are in hot water due to accreditation issues, as most of their TNVS units -- they admitted -- had operated without appropriate documents from the LTFRB.

LTFRB board member Atty. Aileen Lizada said they would take part in crafting the law to regulate the operations of TNCs.

"Mabibigay na namin yung mga inputs namin so they can craft a legislation true to its form para sa mga TNVS," Lizada said.

[Translation: We can already give our inputs so they can craft a legislation true to its form for the TNVS.]

She added there were currently 7,000 to 9,000 TNVS units operating hourly in Metro Manila.

In September, the LTFRB will decide on how many units will be allowed to operate.

Passenger safety

The Senate hearing also tackled passenger safety, with both Grab and Uber saying their driver-partners are required to have government-mandated insurance, which covers passengers up to P200,000 in case of an accident.

Accredited Grab drivers are required to undergo drug testing, while Uber drivers are not.

Senator Win Gatchalian also raised the concern about the number of hours drivers spend on the road.

Lizada said there was no existing regulation on the matter.

"That's the problem eh. While I do agree that this is a new technology but its imbued with public interest," Gatchalian said.

Taxis losing to TNCs

With the emergence of app-based ride-sharing services, Philippine National Taxi Operators Association president Atty. Bong Suntay Suntay noted taxi operators and drivers were losing out to TNCs.

"We are required to use taxi meters and our fares are regulated," Suntay said. "TNVS are not required to have taxi meters. They use their algorithm. They use dynamic pricing, meaning to say, their price may vary."

Poe then appealed to the LTFRB to allow taxi drivers to adjust their fares to avoid price fixing and allow for higher income.

"Dinggin na nila ang hinaing ng ating taxi drivers. Bigyan niyo naman ng konting allowance yung kanilang pamasahe," Poe said.

[Translation:The LTFRB should hear the appeal of taxi drivers. You should give their fares a little more elbow room.]