DOTr: Grab, Uber must follow rules
The government has nothing against ride-hailing companies like Grab and Uber as long as they comply with government regulations.
“Everyone is welcome to do business in this country as long as they follow the rules. The Duterte administration welcomes all well-meaning businessmen,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade told investors during a gathering in Davao City last Friday.
He made the statement as Uber and Grab drivers appealed to Mr. Duterte to intervene and order the lifting of a yearlong moratorium on the issuance of franchises for app-based transport services.
Tugade said the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has asked transport network companies (TNCs) to submit the necessary papers so their accredited transport network vehicle service (TNVS) drivers could operate legally.
At the same time, he wondered why it was taking the drivers such a long time to submit the requirements such as their financial statements and income tax returns.
Tugade assured TNCs that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) would process their drivers’ documents as quickly as possible.
“If things can be worked out, if things can be logical, if things can be done on a win-win basis, then let’s shake hands and do business,” he said.
The LTFRB earlier announced it would start apprehending TNC drivers without a valid franchise starting on July 26.
Last week, however, it agreed to put off the crackdown after Grab and Uber filed separate motions for reconsideration. The LTFRB also said it would fast-track the processing and release of around 11,000 pending franchise applications.
According to the transport board, both TNCs have a combined total of 42,000 accredited drivers.
Of the figure, however, only 3,700 have been authorized by the LTFRB to operate, making the rest “colorum” vehicles.
Tugade said that the transport department, through the LTFRB, was holding consultations with both Grab and Uber “to clarify some issues on the mess they have created.”
“What we are doing right now is putting some sense of reason and sanity [in] the business model Grab and Uber are trying to introduce,” he added, saying the TNCs should “do business on a platform of compliance to level the playing field.”
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez agreed with Tugade that all modes of public transport should operate on equal footing by securing all requirements set by the government.
“But we should not prevent them from coming in. As long as the market, the consumer and riding public need these extra services, we should not prevent an entrepreneur from offering something that there’s a demand for in the market,” he said.
“It’s really about services and availability. Let’s have a level playing field in the market and let the competitive, the innovative survive,” Lopez added.
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