By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has vowed to review its department order covering the Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) and come up with guidelines on the regulation of motorcycles-for-hire before the end of June.
DOTr Assistant Secretary Arturo Fabillar made the assurance after the House Committee on Metro Manila Development asked DOTr to amend its order to allow the classification of four-wheeled vehicles as TNVS to include motorcycles-for-hire.
“We will review the department order, ” he told the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, chaired by Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo during its recent hearing on transportation issues.
However, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon raised eyebrows at Fabillar’s response, saying that department order should have been amended long time ago.
“The DOTr is not proactive in solving transportation problems. Ang sagot nyo na pag-aaralan pa, eh matagal na ito. It shows lack of proactivity in the mindset of the DOTr,” he said.
When asked by Castelo if the DOTr can come up with guidelines within a month, Fabillar responded affirmatively.
“We need to help ease the burden of Filipino commuters as soon as possible. This is why we need to allow motorcycles-for-hire to operate because they help in ferrying people,” Castelo said.
“The transport network companies Grab and Uber were allowed to operate as TNVS because the DOTr issued a department order that allowed private cars to ferry commuters. The same can be done for motorcycles,” he pointed out.
Castelo said the DOTr should not wait for Congress to pass a bill seeking the inclusion of motorcycle taxis in the TNVS category.
“Every day you delay this, you will be robbing our commuters of a more efficient transport service,” he added.
Under Republic Act 4136, private vehicles were not allowed to be used for hire.
But, Department Order 2015-011 groups sedans, Asian utility vehicles, sports utility vehicles, vans or other similar vehicles under the TNVS category.
Transport Watch co-convenor George Royeca and David Medrana, head of operations of Angkas, an erstwhile app-based motorcycle-hailing service, thanked the Castelo panel for pushing for classification of motorcycles under the TNVS category.
“Makakatulong itong maibsan ang hirap na nararansan ng ating mga mananakay at mabigyan rin ng pagkakataong magkaroon ng disenteng hanap-buhay ang ating mga kababayan,” he said.
He noted that in a recent SWS survey commissioned by Transport Watch, one of three Filipino households owns a motorcycle and half of them use a motorcycle for livelihood.
“We are grateful for the support of our legislators, particularly the Metro Manila Development Committee headed by Chairman Winston Castelo, and for urging the DOTr to amend the existing department order on TNVS to include motorcycle taxis,” Medrana, for his part, said.
“Angkas is willing to lend our understanding of the transport situation to the committee and the DOTr so we may come up with fair and non-discriminatory laws that will help provide transport services that Filipinos need to address the demand of the times,” he added.