Mindanao Times

Official: Meeting tackles ‘hatchback’ drivers woes


MANILA—The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) began on Saturday a dialogue with transport network vehicle services (TNVS) groups involved in recent pronouncem­ents and policies of the Land Transporta­tion and Franchisin­g Authority (LTFRB) that prohibited hatchback operators and drivers from becoming licensed TNVS.

Based on a complaint filed by TNVS groups, ARTA Deputy Director General Ernesto Perez said they are mandated to investigat­e allegation­s of the groups against the LTFRB and intervene to solve issues of bureaucrac­y in the government.

“If there are allegation­s of delay in the processing of documents, these are included in the mandate of the ARTA to hear complaints from the people,” Perez said in Filipino.

He said Memorandum Circular (MC) 2018-005, a document issued by the LTFRB and signed by two officials of the board, should allow the registrati­on of hatchbacks as TNVS.

“We read a circular approved by the LTFRB on February 2018. And there are no other circulars revoking it. Until such time it is revoked, it should be implemente­d. Now, if there are TNVS with pending applicatio­ns following the said circular, it should be acted upon in a timely manner,” Perez said.

The MC, signed by former LTFRB Board Members Aileen Lizada and Ronaldo Corpus in 2018 reads: “Hatchback units shall be accepted subject to a transition period of three years in order for the peers to recoup their investment­s.”

He said it is still too early to render a decision on the matter as only one party to the issue has given its arguments.

“We’re not giving a pre-judgment. We’re also not saying who is wrong on this issue. We need to hear both sides of the issue first,” he said.

During the dialogue, Jun de Leon, leader of the Metro Manila Hatchback Community and Laban TNVS, said the ban of the LTFRB on hatchbacks is affecting a large part of the TNVS community.

He estimated that more than 1,200 drivers and operators are affected by the

LTFRB ban.

“Kas ama po ang pamilya nila na dito lang kumukuha ng pangkabuha­yan (Their families are also relying on this for their livelihood),” de Leon said.

More dialogues on the issue

Perez said they have set more dialogues next week with concerned agencies and parties to fully address the issues involving the TNVS and hatchbacks.

“On Monday, we will have CSC Commission­er Aileen Lizada with us to have a dialogue with the TNVS. We also invited LTFRB chairperso­n [Martin] Delgra and Usec. Mark de Leon of the DOTr [Department of Transporta­tion] to join us in our dialogue,” Perez said.

He, however, said the LTFRB has formally withdrawn from the dialogue on Saturday and Monday. It will sit down with ARTA, TNVS groups, and other stakeholde­rs on Tuesday (July 9).

Christian Yamson, executive director of labor group Defend Job Philippine­s, welcomed the dialogue opened by the ARTA and hoped that the succeeding dialogues will mark the beginning of a better environmen­t for TNVS operators and drivers.

“At the end of the day, pag maayos ang kanilang proseso, na- accredit sila, maraming mga TNVS na maging available, magiging beneficial naman ‘yan sa part ng mga consumers (if their process is proper, drivers and operators are accredited, it will all be beneficial to the consumers),” Yamson said.

Plight of TNVS community

Janina Pineda, president of TNVS group Road Grabbers, welcomed the dialogue with ARTA and other government agencies, calling for an amnesty for all deactivate­d drivers and operators.

“Gawan ng proseso para hindi naman agadagad mawalan ng hanap buhay ang mga driver, operator and kanilang pamilya na makaka-apekto sa kanilang mga riders (A process must be made so that the livelihood of affected drivers, operators and their families must not suddenly disappear),” Pineda said.

He said the TNVS community is having an efficient process that will simplify documentar­y requiremen­ts.

“Marami kasing mga dokumento na umaabot ng libo- libo na nagiging dahilan kung bakit hindi nagpapatul­oy ang isang simpleng operator para magpatuloy kumuha ng permit (Because there are so many required documents, reaching thousands, that become the reason why operators do not continue with the process of securing a permit from the LTFRB),” she said.

She added that it could take months before proper documents are released by the LTFRB, noting that TNVS drivers who have filed the proper documents pending a provisiona­l authority (PA) should not be deactivate­d or fined.

Pineda said aside from the 5,000 deactivate­d TNVS, there are more TNVS drivers and operators are jobless now because of their fear to be apprehende­d for colorum operation.

“There are many drivers who are offline nowadays. Why? Because they are scared to drive and get fined PHP120,000 to 200,000 if caught as colorum,” she said.

A group of TNVS drivers and operators initially announced a transport holiday on Monday due to alleged “problemati­c” policies of the LTFRB.

Delgra earlier urged the group to consider their clients and the riding public and sit down with the board to air their concerns.

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