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LTFRB sets July 9 dialogue with disgruntled TNVS drivers, operators.

By Alexandria San Juan

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has set a dialogue with ride-sharing drivers and operators next week to address their issues and problems in the agency.

The call came after the Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) Community, an umbrella group of TNVS drivers and operators nationwide, announced its plan to stage a "transport holiday" on Monday (July 8) as part of their continuous protest against the policies of the agency.

The dialogue, scheduled on Tuesday, July 9, aims to address concerns of TNVS drivers and operators on the process of accreditation as well as the regulations and requirements set by the government, the LTFRB explained.

"The agency hopes that this platform will help enlighten both TNVS operators, transport network companies (TNCs) and all other stakeholders to understand that requirements and regulations are created and put in place for the safety of the commuting public, our most important stakeholder," the LTFRB said in a statement on Friday.

LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra III also appealed to the community to reconsider their plan to hold the nationwide transport holiday "in the interest of the riding public."

He added that it is best to discuss the issues with regulators rather than holding the riding public "hostage" through the transport holiday.

"We urge them to bring their legitimate concerns to LTFRB, in dialogue, so that the Board can address them and not hold the riding public hostage by their planned disruptive action. The LTFRB welcomes constructive criticisms and feedbacks from all stakeholders," Delgra said.

The LTFRB echoed a similar appeal made by Grab to its TNVS partners urging them to address their "pain points" through dialogue before taking actions that could negatively affect the riding public.

At least 35,000 TNVS drivers and operators in Metro Manila are expected to participate in the transport holiday wherein some will temporarily suspend their operations and will go offline from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Others will also hold simultaneous protest actions in Quezon City, Manila, and in Pasay City during the entire duration of the whole-day event, while a group of deactivated TNVS drivers will be filing a case against LTFRB officials before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Mixed reactions from TNVS groups

Leaders of various organizations of TNVS drivers and operators welcomed the latest development in their call to scrap the agency's "pahirap policies" and are hopeful that the dialogue would result in better regulations in the ride-sharing community.

For Ninoy Mopas, president of Thug Philippines, one of the TNVS groups, said they have long been waiting for a dialogue with transport officials to hear their side and for them to relay the problems they are currently facing.

"As the president of one of the groups, I will try to persuade other leaders na siguro it's time for a peaceful dialogue na, hindi na siguro kailangan itong transport holiday," Mopas said in a phone interview.

"Hangga't maaari ayoko ng kilos protesta na magpaparalisa or somehting like mababawasan ang mga TNVS sdrivers sa kalsada para hindi maapektuhan lalung-lalo na ang riding public at the same rime para di maapektuhan ang hanapbuhay ng mga drivers," he added.

Janina Pineda, a leader of another TNVS group Road Grabbes who is also a driver, said that if nothing happens after the dialogue, they will continue their protest against the agency.

For Jun De Leon, chairman of Metro Manila Hatchback Community, he mentioned that they will continue to file charges against LTFRB officials before the Office of the Ombudsman for failing to implement its memorandum allowing hatchbacks to operate as a ride-hailing car, as well as for violation of ease of doing business rules.

Meanwhile, the Laban TNVS, a network of TNVS drivers and operators, and commuters group, Defend Job Philippines maintained that Monday's transport holiday will push through despite LTFRB's call for a dialogue.

The groups explained that the upcoming transport holiday will be peaceful, non-violent and non-confrontational form of protest "to air out their demand for smoother registration process."

"We are all systems go for the transport holiday on Monday. Nothing can stop us from exercising our rights to air out our dissent against LTFRB's pahirap policies," the group stated.


Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairperson Atty. Martin Delgra III (PCOO / MANILA BULLETIN)
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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jul 5, 2019
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