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Poe to LTFRB: Accredit Grab, Uber drivers with complete papers

Sen. Grace Poe said that the LTFRB should accredit Uber and Grab applicants with complete documents. File

Poe to LTFRB: Accredit Grab, Uber drivers with complete papers

Audrey Morallo (Philstar.com) - August 3, 2017 - 11:35am

MANILA, Philippines — The government should accredit Grab and Uber applicants with complete documents and reconsider adjusting the flag-down rate of cabs while waiting for legislation to resolve the issues hounding ride-hailing services in the country, according to Sen. Grace Poe.

Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services conducting hearings on ride-hailing service issues, said that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board should accredit vehicle owners with complete documents and with no violations while waiting for legislation that would regulate transport network companies such as Grab and Uber.

In addition, the government agency should also consider raising the flag-down rate of taxis which was last adjusted eight years ago.

“Halimbawa sila na rin ang nagsabi, kulang ang mga nagpoprovide ng service sa mga pasahero, e di i-accredit na nila lahat nung wala naman problema sa accreditation papers nila,” the senator said. “Dinggin na nila ang hinaing ng ating mga taxi drivers. Bigyan naman ninyo ng kaunting allowance ang kanilang pamasahe kasi walong taon nang hindi tinataas iyan so siguro naman dapat ma-review at madesisyunan na nila kaagad.”

On July 11, the LTFRB issued an order directing TNCs Grab and Uber to deactivate their drivers who did not have permits or franchise before July 26, or they would be apprehended.

The franchising agency also fined Grab and Uber P5 million each for accepting and allowing 50,000 units to operate without LTFRB authorization.

This created a whirlwind of criticism especially from regular users of the two companies’ services as the order would deprive them of 90 percent of Grab and Uber vehicles on the road.

Uber and Grab have appealed for the LTFRB to reconsider the order as it would ground more than 50,000 unlicensed drivers which could spike prices as customers would be forced to compete for few vehicles.

“We appealed to the LTFRB to suspend the implementation of the July 11 order. We hope the LTFRB will respond favorably,” Catherine Avelino, Uber head of communications, said in a text message to The STAR.

Adjust taxi flag-down rates

Poe said that the LTFRB had vowed to resolve the accreditation and flag-down rate issues of drivers by September.

She added that taxi drivers should be given a chance to earn a decent living by adjusting their flag-down rate, which has been at P40 for the past eight years.

“Tumaas na yung presyo ng kilo ng bigas, tumaas na yung presyo ng ibang bilihin sila hindi pa na-adjust,” she said.

The senator also called on Uber and Grab to avoid accepting new applications while the issues on their operations had not yet been resolved.

“Sabi ko naman sa LTFRB, resolbahin na natin kasi may mga tao na nag-invest na diyan, may mga kotse, may mga drivers na umaasa na hanggang ngayon ay hindi naman malinaw kung matutuloy ba yan o hindi,” Poe said.

She said that she was open to suggestions to review taxi fares every two years which could be included in the legislation they would craft.

“[T]tong mga drivers natin, may pamilya iyan. So natural kapag pinipigil mo sila halimbawa, hindi mo sila binibigyan ng patas na pagtrato ay gagawa at gagawa iyan ng dahilan para gumawa ng iligal na bagay. Kaya nga nagrereklamo tayo kasi ayaw tayong ihatid dahil traffic, papaano naman ang liit ng kinikita nila,” Poe told reporters.

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