Lawmakers scramble to resolve Uber, Grab dilemma
MANILA, Philippines – Several lawmakers filed bills seeking to recognize transportation network companies (TNCs) as alternative mode of public transportation and set clear guidelines for their operations.
Senator Grace Poe and Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, as well as brothers Davao City 1st District Representative Karlo Nograles and Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Representative Jericho Nograles filed 3 separate measures on Wednesday, July 19.
This was after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered TNCs like Uber and Grab to purge their register of undocumented drivers by July 26, or these "colorum" drivers would be apprehended. (READ: Grab, Uber to keep drivers on the road until LTFRB clarifies order)
The LTFRB order would result to TNCs stopping the operations of 80% of their drivers, enraging Uber and Grab’s regular customers. (READ: Let us go beyond #WeWantUberGrab)
"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," said Karlo Nograles.
Poe and the Nograles brothers filed similar bills, which would require transportation network companies and drivers (TNDs) to “exercise diligence” in ensuring their drivers would comply with all requirements and obligations set by the government.
Among the requirements to be able to operate a TNC specified under the measures are as follows:
- 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 or have a 3rd party conduct a safety inspection of the personal vehicle that a TND will use before the motor vehicle may be used on the road
- Maintain an insurance policy for its driver-partners and their passengers
The bills would also require Uber and Grab to strictly adopt a zero-tolerance policy on the use of drugs and alcohol of its drivers.
TNCs would not be allowed to exceed the car manufacturer’s designed seating capacity for their cars. All vehicles must not be more than 10 years old and should comply with vehicle emission standards.
Meanwhile, Senator Joel Villanueva also filed Senate Resolution Number 431, calling for a probe into the process LTFRB employs in granting franchises to TNCs.
"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 there will be a fair compromise between the government and the [TNC] providers, with the end goal of providing more covenient options to our daily commuters," said Villanueva.
Villanueva said fellow senators Juan Edgardo Angara, JV Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, and Juan Miguel Zubiri have expressed support for the investigation he is seeking. – with reports from Camille Elemia/Rappler.com