By Alexandria San Juan
A group of transport network vehicle service (TNVS) operators and drivers is set to hold a protest caravan on Tuesday against Grab Philippines’ move to deactivate around 8,000 unaccredited units.
This was announced by leaders of the Metro Manila Hatchback Community in Monday’s press conference, after the ride-hailing giant said that TNVS providers who failed to complete requirements for accreditation to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LFRB) will be removed from the platform.
Hundreds of affected drivers are expected to join the group’s protest caravan in front of Grab’s TNVS Assistance Program Center and at the LTFRB office both in Quezon City on Tuesday morning, in time with the scheduled hearing of the ride-hailing giant called by the transport regulatory body.
The LTFRB has issued a show-cause order against Grab to explain the status of its deactivation, as well as to address complaints on its alleged failure to implement a 20 percent fare discount to students, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Representatives of the community will also appear on Tuesday’s hearing to ask the Board to give them a chance in complying with the requirements and also to reconsider the deactivation which they tagged as an attack on their livelihood.
According to Hatchback Community chairman Leonardo De Leon, they will also seek for a dialogue with the LTFRB regarding their concerns on the difficult process of securing a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).
“Many TNVS operators and drivers are having difficulties in complying with the requirements set by the Board chaired by Atty. Martin Delgra. These requirements lead to dismissals of CPCs resulting in financial losses to operators, deactivation, and less cars to serve the riding public,” the group said in a statement.
Apart from problems in the application, the group also wants to clarify why the Board is not allowing hatchbacks to be driven as TNVS even with the outstanding transition period.
On February 2018, the LTFRB temporarily allowed the use of hatchbacks as a TNVS provider but at a lower rate and in Metro Manila only during a three-year transition period.
“Unfortunately, even with the transition period, the LTFRB has denied applications for PA and CPC for hatchback cars. With the outstanding transition period, these cars should be approved,” the group explained.
Meanwhile, labor group Defend Job Philippines has expressed their support to TNVS drivers and operators who will be deactivated from the platform.
The cause-oriented group also urged LTFRB to protect the livelihood of TNVS providers by extending their application deadline and reforming their application requirements and processes instead of restricting them from continuing their work.