A lawmaker has called on the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to give leeway to private vehicle owners who are offering alternative transport service to commuters despite having no legitimate franchises.
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino 4th made the appeal on Friday in reaction to an owner of a sports utility vehicle (SUV) being fined P200,000 last October 2 for illegally operating as a passenger vehicle.
The SUV was a partner car of Uber, a ride-sharing service, which provides commuter an alternative means of transportation.
Aquino, who heads the Senate Committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship, said the LTFRB should encourage innovation and provide some room to transport start-ups, which, according to him, provide safe and affordable means of transportation to commuters.
Among the other start-ups are Tripid, GrabTaxi and EasyTaxi.
It is illegal for any vehicle owner to offer transport service without a franchise issued by the LTFRB, the sole agency authorized to issue certificates of public convenience (CPC) or franchise to those individuals and corporations who want to engage in the public transport business.
An applicant has to go through a tedious process before the board could grant the application for CPC.
The LTFRB and other government agencies are cracking down on colorum vehicles that operate without a franchise in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, virtually robbing legitimate transport operators and drivers of their income.
Unlike the legitimate public utility vehicles, colorum vehicles, including those partnered with Uber and other ride-sharing service providers, operate without passenger insurance and are not paying taxes to the government.
Aquino said Senate Bill 2217, or the Start-Up Business Bill, would provide these enterprises the proper time to stand on their own as they try to create a niche in the market.
The measure proposes a two-year tax exemption for operations, given that these enterprises are not an affiliate, a subsidiary or a franchise of any existing company.