• House panel wants to put brake on Uber, GrabCar

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    The technical working group (TWG) of the House Committee on Transportation has recommended the suspension of app-based vehicle services Uber and GrabCar.

    The group said Transportation Network Vehicles Services (TNVS) and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber, GrabCars and other companies offering such services should first comply with government regulations before being allowed to operate.

    Rep. Raneo Abu of Batangas said pending compliance, Uber and other similar services are classified as “colorum.”

    Abu headed a TWG meeting meant to determine if TNCs and TNVS are public utilities or not, and to discuss their liability in accidents as well as their tax obligations.

    Likewise, the group recommended the suspension of the implementation of the Department Order (DO) 2015-11 of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) which recognizes new forms of transportation services such as TNCs that include Uber, GrabCars and EasyCars.

    The TWG slammed the DOTC and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) “for allowing private vehicles to be used as taxis while suspending the issuance of taxi franchises.”

    “Why are they being allowed to operate when they are only listed as system developer? They are not certified transport services,” Rep. Estrellita Suansing of Nueva Ecija pointed out.

    The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has told the group that Uber Philippines, Inc. is registered only as a system developer.

    Suansing also questioned the basis for opening the applications for TNVS and TNCs when there is a standing moratorium for the issuance of taxi franchise.

    Tax, liability issues
    Rep. Philip Pichay of Surigao del Sur said tax allocation should be clear and that TNC should be required to obtain tax clearance from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC).

    Pichay asked Uber and GrabCars to submit copies of their income tax records and audited financial statements to the House panel.

    Suansing said since TNCs issue receipts, they should be taxed not only for the commission in arranging the trip but for the entire passenger fare. She urged the owner of Uber to appear before the House panel, and called on BIR officials to study the business model of TNCs to enable the government to efficiently collect the right taxes.

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