‘Who is to clean up the mess?’

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Grab and Uber should not ask for help from the government on legal remedies that would make their operation lawful, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

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“Who is to clean up the mess? For both Grab and Uber, do not come to us to solve the mess,” LTFRB spokesman Aileen Lizada said in a news briefing on Tuesday at the LTFRB main office in Quezon City.

Lizada was addressing concerns raised by drivers applying with the two transport network companies, including the financial distress brought about by the decision of the board to apprehend vehicles operating without franchises, or colorum vehicles.

“Do not throw this to us, TNCs. You have earned millions already,” Lizada said, referring to transnational companies.

Lizada pointed out that Grab is estimated to earn P60 million a month and Uber, P75 million a month.

“You pay their [drivers]respective amortizations. Do not turn to us to make legal what you have done illegally,” he said, noting that other drivers even bought new cars to be peers of Grab and Uber.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra 3rd said they will create a technical working group to discuss issues such as accreditation, accountability and pricing.

“The board has been very supportive [of TNCs],” Delgra added.

The LTFRB moving against Grab and Uber will only worsen traffic congestion in the country, according to lawmakers.

“The current policy stance of the LTFRB is the situation that creates and worsens the problem of colorum vehicles instead of solving it,” Aangat Tayo party- list Rep. Neil Abayon 3rd said in a statement also on Tuesday.

According to Abayon, the board should instead process all pending and new applications for certificates of public convenience (CPC) of motor vehicles registered with the two transport companies.

He said the LTFRB should open new jeepney routes in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Pampanga, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Quezon, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

“The mandate of the LTFRB is public service. Refusal to open new jeepney routes and process CPC when there is a clear massive demand to address the needs of our growing urban population is tantamount to gross neglect of duty, and could be justification for taking justified court action to compel the LTFRB to reverse its current policy stance that is a disservice to the riding public,” Abayon said.

Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Rep. Jericho Nograles said the LTFRB should address first the proliferation of colorum buses, jeepneys, taxis and UV Express and dismantle illegal terminals rather than cracking down on Grab and Uber.

“What they do not understand is the fact that while it is true that traffic volume is causing Metro Manila’s traffic, it should not be blamed on Uber and Grab because unlike other public conveyances that are constantly on the road to get passengers, most of these transport network services are only on the road when they have a client,” Nograles added.

He urged LTFRB officials to take public transport especially on Fridays to see any basis for their claim that vehicles of the two transport networks contribute to traffic in Metro Manila.

The board said they should not be blamed for not allowing operations of vehicles without CPCs as it is only heeding its mandate.

The LTFRB issued Memorandum Circular 2016-008 last year directing its technical division and regional offices not to accept any applications for transportation network vehicle services, especially those of Uber, GrabCar and Uhop, because of the rising volume of TNVS applications.

It will slap colorum TNVS drivers with P120,000 fine and impound their vehicles for at least three months starting July 26.

The LTFRB has imposed a fine of P5 million each for Grab and Uber for their violations, including operation of colorum vehicles.

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