LTFRB sets workshop on Uber controversy
MANILA, Philippines–The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) will be conducting a workshop to finalize regulations regarding online-enabled transportation services such as Uber, GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi.
In an advertisement published in newspapers on Friday, LTFRB Chair Winston Ginez announced that the workshop to be held on Wednesday afternoon at the main office in Quezon City to finalize rules and regulations covering what the board had called “Transportation Network Companies” (TNCs).
These firms rely on mobile applications to connect passengers with drivers of private vehicles in the case of Uber and franchised taxi services in the case of GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi.
During the workshop, policies would be drafted defining TNCs as a new mode of public land transportation service. It would tackle rules on TNC accreditation and the issuance of certificates of public convenience for vehicles operating under the scheme.
Last year, Uber came under fire after taxi operators complained that it was offering illegal taxi services as it did not have a franchise. This prompted the LTFRB to arrest an Uber partner-driver in October for operating a “colorum” vehicle.
In November, the LTFRB held a public hearing on whether Uber and similar “online-enabled transportation services” should fall under government supervision.
At the hearing, Uber’s lawyer, Donemark Calimon of the Quisumbing Torres law firm, insisted that Uber was simply a “technology platform,” engaged in “private contracts of carriage” not covered by current LTFRB regulations.
Calimon said that whether Uber’s partner vehicles should secure a franchise was still “a legal question” and that they “would comply with appropriate regulations” once these were laid out.
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