MANILA-- Two administration lawmakers at the House of Representatives have filed a bill seeking to regulate and set clear requirements, guidelines, and standards for the operation of Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Grab.
House appropriations committee chair Karlo Nograles and his brother, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Partylist Rep. Jericho Nograles, filed House Bill 6009 in light of the controversy over the recent decision of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to suspend the operation of some Uber and Grab vehicles.
The two lawmakers said the bill will provide a legal framework that would address the distinct character of TNCs as a public conveyance, thus removing the impasse on the issue of public welfare versus existing transportation regulations on the use of such application-based ride-hailing platforms.
"This is a classic case of a clash between what is good and what is legal. Obviously, a lot of people patronize Uber and Grab because of our horrible public transport system but at the same time the LTFRB must exercise its mandate to ensure that all public conveyances should possess a franchise to operate. This issue would be addressed by our proposed law on TNCs," Karlo said.
HB 6009, also known as the Transportation Network Service Act, seeks to institutionalize the TNCs as an alternative mode of public transport.
The measure also stipulates the regulations for the operation of transportation network services "to ensure that the paramount interest of the public is protected and conserved, while encouraging free enterprise and economic development."
Both lawmakers stressed the need to enact a law governing the operation and regulation of TNCs, which is a completely new concept in the country's transport sector and the general rules governing public conveyances is not fully applicable.
"The concept of Uber and Grab is new to us so therefore new regulations must be set to ensure that they are properly managed. Unfortunately, we don't even need to go through this kind of trouble if only we have an efficient public transport system and an MRT that doesn't break down too often," Jericho said.
Under the bill, TNCs and Transportation Network Drivers (TNDs) are declared as common carriers for purposes of determining the liability and degree of diligence that must be observed in the course of transportation network services.
The presumption of negligence in case of breach of contract of carriage shall likewise apply to these common carriers.
The TNCs shall be required to secure a permit from the LTFRB upon compliance with the pertinent requirements and in turn, the TNCs shall be required to exercise the diligence of ensuring that all their driver-partners would comply with all the requirements and obligations set by law.
To be able to operate a TNC, one must do the following: create an application process for a person to apply for registration as a transportation network driver; maintain an updated database of the TNC's transportation network drivers; maintain a website; conduct a safety inspection of the personal vehicle that a driver will use; and maintain an insurance policy for its driver-partners and their passengers.
The bill also mandates TNCs to strictly adopt a zero tolerance policy for drug or alcohol use for its driver-partners and all their network vehicles must be safe and comfortable.
Source: Philippine News Agency