Villanueva files reso seeking probe on LTFRB’s process in granting franchises to Uber, Grab

Senator Joel Villanueva has filed Resolution No. 431 on Wednesday calling for an inquiry on the process being followed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in granting franchises to Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) providers.

On July 21, 2016, the LTFRB issued a memorandum circular suspending all applications for provisional authority or temporary permits to operate for TNVS like Uber and Grab to pave the way for a review of the existing regulatory framework applicable to TNVS providers.

The LTFRB has also earlier imposed a Php5 Million fine each for Uber and Grab for allowing some of their drivers to operate without permits.

The said decision of the LTFRB has caused uproar among commuters who use the service of TNVs on their daily commute.

At present, more than 100,000 commuters have signed up in an online petition expressing their anger over LTFRB's plan, citing the benefits of TNVS.

"We want to hear all the stakeholders to come up with the best solution to immediately address this problem. At the end of the day, we hope that there will be a fair compromise between the government and the TNVS providers with the end goal of providing more convenient options to our daily commuters," Villanueva said.

One of the main issues the senator wants to resolve is the failure of the majority of TNVS to acquire provisional authority or certificate of public convenience (CPC) from the LTFRB.

Grab reported that out of roughly 28,000 drivers, only about 4,000 Grab drivers have been granted a provisional authority or CPC. An estimated 72% of the TNVS are, thus, considered as "colorum."

"We would like to know the reasons why the LTFRB has suddenly stopped granting permits to TNVS. Aside from that, we are also interested at how the TNVS could present a way of utilizing underutilized resources which the government may see as a source for potential tax revenue," Villanueva explained.

On the other hand, the LTFRB is also in the process of creating a Technical Working Group to discuss issues such as accreditation and pending applications, and accountability and dynamic pricing scheme.

"Our country is already marred with serious public transportation problems that have brought inconvenience to the riding public. This issue between the LTFRB and TNVS adds additional burden to our commuters and I believe we must come up with an expeditious resolution that will strike a balance between the government's role to regulate businesses and at the same time, provide better means of mass transport to the public," Villanueva said.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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