LTFRB backpedals, says 100,000 TNVS slots now open to all transpo network firms

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) took back its statement regarding the granting of 100,000 slots of Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) to Grab Philippines.

In a press briefing early this month, the LTFRB said the slots will be allocated to the Singaporean company in response to its commitment to create 500,000 jobs in the Philippines following a meeting of its top officials with President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, Jr.

But in a statement released on Thursday, Feb. 16, the LTFRB said the slots will be opened mostly for motorcycles and also four-wheeled motor vehicles, and will allow all interested TNCs (Transportation Network Companies) to participate.

"The LTFRB will first conduct public hearings with various stakeholders. After which, he said the LTFRB will deliberate on it in coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and will then issue appropriate policy guidelines," the agency's statement read.

LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz III said all factors will be considered in the awarding of the slots, which will be spread out to other regions, particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao, to benefit commuters in the areas.

"The LTFRB believes that the opening of franchise slots will be able to help provide the public with more job opportunities, aside from a more robust public transportation service," the statement read.

The LTFRB statement was apparently in reaction to the statement by Digital Pinoys, a group of digital advocates, which said the decision to favor Grab "is an abuse of dominance and would only lead to monopoly."

“The pledge and the franchise allotment reeks of abuse of dominance. The government should ensure that fair competition will be upheld, even in the allocation of franchises,” said Digital Pinoy national campaigner Ronald Gustilo.

In the same statement, the LTFRB said it vehemently denied the allegation of the group.