Hatchback drivers seek aid of anti-red tape body over TNVS ban

Transport network vehicle services (TNVS) groups met with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on Saturday, July 6, to air their grievance against the policy by the Land Transportation and Franchising Authority (LTFRB) that prohibited hatchback owners from becoming licensed TNVS operators.

ARTA deputy director-general Ernesto Perez (center) meets with TNVS representatives to discuss the LTFRB ban on hatchbacks. (PNA photo by Raymond Carl dela Cruz)

ARTA deputy director-general Ernesto Perez said LTFRB’s Memorandum Circular (MC) 2018-005 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.”

Perez, however, said it would give the LTFRB the chance to air its side. “We’re not pre-judging it. 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 on hatchbacks affects more than 1,200 drivers and operators. “Kasama po ang pamilya nila na dito lang kumukuha ng pangkabuhayan,” de Leon said.

Perez said they will meet next week with concerned agencies and parties to address the issue.

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 agad-agad mawalan ng hanap buhay ang mga driver, operator at kanilang pamilya na makaka-apekto sa kanilang mga riders,” Pineda said.

She said the government should implement a policy 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,” she said.

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

Pineda said a large number of TNVS drivers and operators are jobless now because of fear of being apprehended as “colorum” operators. “There are many drivers who are offline nowadays. Why? Because they are scared to drive and get fined P120,000 to P200,000 if caught as colorum,” she said.

A group of TNVS drivers and operators initially announced a transport holiday on Monday, July 8, to protest the “problematic” policies of the LTFRB. Delgra urged the group to consider their clients and the riding public and sit down with the agency to air their concerns. — Raymond Carl Dela Cruz (PNA)

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