DRIVERS and operators of Grab Philippines (MyTaxi.PH, Inc.) are seeking an amnesty from the government for failure to obtain a certificate to operate as transport network vehicle service (TNVS), which led to the deactivation of 8,000 vehicles from the ride-hailing platform yesterday.

Hatchback Community, which has 1,000 members set for removal from the Grab platform, said in a news conference in Quezon City yesterday drivers are applying for a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) at the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), but the requirements are restrictive and they need more time to comply.

Humihingi kami ng amnesty, na lahat ng 8,000 na drivers na ide-deactivate, pagbigyan nila na magkaroon ng oras para mag-apply at maging legal ang negosyo (We are seeking an amnesty so all 8,000 drivers to be deactivated are given a chance to apply and operate legally),” Hatchback Community Chairman Leonardo V. De Leon said.

In a statement, the organization said the process to secure a CPC is difficult for drivers to follow after the LTFRB added new requirements.

It identified a requirement to produce a bank certificate of conformity as one of the obstacles, noting that some banks charge thousands of pesos for the document.

“Many operators cannot comply, some banks will ask for thousands of pesos in fees, plus an increase of monthly amortization. Some will ask us (to) pay the conformity fee, plus a change of insurance provider to one accredited by the bank for double the amount. These are examples of how hard it is to run a small TNVS business,” it said.

It said the proof of financial capability requirement was another hurdle, as it has been increased to P50,000 from P15,000 previously. “We pray for the board to recompute the amount that is fair for small businesses. P50,000 per vehicle is just (too) much,” it said.

Other issues the group cited are the requirement that only the spouse, parents or descendants of a driver may represent him or her in the hearing for CPC, and the bar on hatchback cars in applying for CPCs because of supposed safety concerns.

Mr. De Leon said the group has filed a formal petition to allow hatchback cars to operate as TNVS in March, but the filing was rejected by the LTFRB. The group aims to file another petition next week concerning the relaxing of CPC application requirements.

The LTFRB, through a member of its communications staff, deferred comment on the statement by Hatchback Community, saying it has no official copy of the document yet and “will have to look into this carefully before making any comments.”

LTFRB Chairman Martin B. Delgra III had not replied to requests for comment at deadline time.

For its part, Grab said it has to push through with the deactivation of 8,000 drivers as the LTFRB does not allow TNVS with no CPCs to operate.

“We will roll out TNVS deactivation as planned before midnight (of June 10). The list of deactivated TNVS includes hatchbacks, models from 2015 and older, and those who did not process their TNVS requirements with the LTFRB in the past six months,” Grab Philippines Public Affairs Manager Nicka Hosaka said.

Grab is scheduled to appear before the LTFRB today to explain the allegedly delayed deactivation of 8,000 drivers.

The LTFRB also opened yesterday 10,000 slots for new TNVS applicants, which Grab is urging its deactivated drivers to take advantage of. — Denise A. Valdez