Worried Uber, Grab drivers turn to Duterte
App-based drivers appealed to President Duterte on Friday to intervene and order the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to lift its yearlong moratorium on the acceptance of franchise applications for vehicles used for app-based transport services.
Bobby Coronel, founder of drivers’ group TopSpeed, said it was high time that Mr. Duterte stepped in to address the issues faced by their sector, saying thousands of drivers affected by the moratorium just want “to work and earn a decent living for their families.”
“Tatay Digong, we are calling on you to help us. We fully support your programs. We only want to have a good and proper job,” Coronel said in a press briefing in Quezon City.
Coronel and several allied groups went to the Department of Transportation to submit a written appeal, which they said bore the signatures
of 122,000 passengers and drivers, mostly from transport network company (TNC) Grab.
Tim Orbos, the undersecretary for road transport, assured the groups they would “find ways to solve this impasse,” but said they should also “understand [the government’s] point of view.”
“We do not want them to stop their operations. We have to do our task as government. We understand that there’s a problem [in our mass transport systems]. Definitely, we would not do something that would further inconvenience the public,” he said.
In July last year, the LTFRB issued the moratorium as it cited the need to look into various concerns arising from the rapid acceptance of app-based transport services, such as surge pricing, passenger security and accountability of the drivers.
Earlier this month, the LTFRB announced it would start apprehending Grab and Uber drivers whom the TNCs allowed to operate without a provisional authority (PA) or certificates of public convenience (CPCs).
The crackdown, which could affect more than 40,000 drivers, was supposed to take effect on July 26 but was put on hold on Thursday after Grab and Uber filed motions for reconsideration.
At present, just about 3,700 drivers have been issued PAs and CPCs. The LTFRB earlier said it would fast-track the approval of around 11,000 applications.
Meanwhile, LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada yesterday disclosed that the original accreditation documents of Uber and Grab could not be found when she and other appointees of the Duterte administration took over the board last year.
“We tried to locate the accreditation folders of both Uber and Grab. However, after searching the office of the executive director and the chair, they were nowhere to be found,” Lizada said.
But the matter was a nonissue for former board member Ariel Inton.
“It is very easy to get a copy, assuming it was lost,” Inton said. “If it was lost in the executive director’s office, there are other copies [in other offices].”
Inton added that all LTFRB documents were “properly turned over” by former chair Winston Ginez to his successor, Martin Delgra III.
Grab’s accreditation as a TNC expired earlier this month while that of Uber will expire next month. Lizada explained that the loss of the accreditation papers would have no effect on the renewal of their accreditation.
Both TNCs have already submitted their petitions for renewal.
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