GRAB Philippines said the number of drivers applying to join the ride-hailing service tripled after the removal of the certificate of conformity (COC) in securing a vehicular franchise.

“We really are very grateful to the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) for removing that requirement,” Grab Philippines Country Manager Grace Vera-Cruz said on the sidelines of Kapihan sa Manila Bay.

A COC is required for a car bought through loans from a bank or financial institution to prove that the lender allows the driver to use the car for transport network vehicle service (TNVS).

Ngayon na nawala na ang COC, talagang nagdagsaan ang number of applicants, siguro mga three times (Now that the COC is no longer required, the number of applicants jumped I think by three times),” Ms. Vera-Cruz said.

She said Grab has been requesting the modification of another TNVS requirement: financial capability via a proof of bank deposit amounting to P20,000 per unit.

“Our argument is that there are many kinds of deposits that can show that our drivers are financially capable,” she said. “The fact that you can own the car under your name is good proof of financial capability.”

Ms. Vera-Cruz said that digital banks should also be looked into as proof of a driver’s financial capability.

“I think we need to bring more forward in terms of technological innovations of financial services,” she said.

Meanwhile, Grab hopes for the rollout of 20,000 more TNVS slots from LTFRB in Metro Manila.

“I think [we have already filled the] initial slots — the 4,000 that were issued in January. So we are waiting for the next batch of slots from the LTFRB. We are hoping for at least 20,000 in Metro Manila,” Ms. Vera-Cruz said.

Grab previously said that it has plans of venturing outside Metro Manila to meet the increasing demand in key cities.

“In Cebu, we are looking forward to having more TNVS drivers. We are hopefully going to work with the governor to increase the TNVS drivers there,” she said.

On Friday, Grab will launch GrabCar services in Iloilo with an initial fleet of 100.

“We need more slots in Iloilo and we hope that the additional slots will be included in the first tranche of the slots LTFRB will open,” Ms. Vera-Cruz said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile