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LTFRB mulling moratorium on new ride-hailing companies

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Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Board Member Aileen A. Lizada — Photo: Anna G. Mogato

By Denise A. Valdez

THE LAND Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is mulling a moratorium on the entry of more transport network companies (TNC), following the new department order tasking the agency to regulate the transportation segment.

In an interview with BusinessWorld last week, LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lourdes A. Lizada said they may suspend the accreditation of more ride-hailing companies.

Sa ngayon [For now], with the guidance of the Department of Transportation (DoTr), we are moving towards the direction na we work with those na-accredit na or pending accreditation [to work with accredited TNCs and those with pending accreditation]. And those that have filed, we may put a moratorium on them,” she said.

Grab Philippines and U-Hop are currently seeking to renew their accreditation. The LTFRB had accredited five new local TNCs in April — Hype, Hirna, Owto, Go Lag and Micab.

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Ms. Lizada said a moratorium is needed to figure out first how it will handle the existing TNCs.

Kasi kailangan namin (We need to). There’s a new DO. We have to come up with new MCs (memorandum circulars), and we have a lot of TNCs. Baka magkakalat na naman tayo dito, hindi mo pa alam (We might mess this up, you don’t know). And then we also need to protect our local companies as well,” she said.

She noted that there are a lot of pending applications for accreditation, including Jakarta-based start-up Go-Jek. Go-Jek earlier said it is keen on bringing its ride-hailing service to the Philippines.

The DoTr issued a department order last week giving the LTFRB the full authority and obligation to regulate and supervise TNCs and its transport network service vehicles (TNVS).

“The TNCs and TNVS are subject to the full regulation and supervision by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, including but not limited to application and approval/denial of franchise, setting of fares, routes, operating conditions, and imposition of fines, suspension and cancellation of franchise,” the order stated.

The LTFRB was also directed to issue guidelines on its regulation of TNCs and TNVS.

Because of this new policy, Ms. Lizada said the LTFRB would have to meet all TNCs to discuss the needed changes.

Prior to the approval of the department order, the LTFRB followed a 2015 order that gave TNCs free rein on setting their own fares. She said the revision was necessary to better allow the agency to manage the transportation segment.

“(We need) to come up with memoranda to properly guide us in this new kind of denomination. This is new. We are all learning from this experience,” she said.

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