About 30,000 drivers and operators belonging to the ride-hailing service Grab will go offline today, July 8, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. to protest the ban on hatchbacks imposed by the Land Transportation Franchising Board (LTFRB).
In a statement, Leonardo de Leon Jr. of the Manila Hatchback Community said the move was not aimed at causing trouble for the riding public, but to express their dissent over the LTFRB regulation.
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At the same time, De Leon said his group welcomes the involvement of the Anti-Red Tape Authority and Civil Service Commission headed by former LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada.
Various leaders of the transport network vehicles services are sent to meet with the Anti-Red Tape Authority officials Monday in Makati City, he said.
Ariel Inton, founding chairman of the Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection, along with the leaders of the Laban TNVS and Defend Job Philippines, said they not forcing drivers and operators to go offline or online.
He said they respect and maintain the freedom of their colleagues to either join the protest or not.
De Leon said their groups would file administrative charges against LTFRB chairperson Martin Delgra III before the Office of the Ombudsman.
He also dismissed Delgra’s accusation that their planned transport holiday was aimed at holding commuters hostage.
“We are not terrorists! The transport holiday aims at expressing our just and legitimate demands against the inconsistencies on the application processes and problematic requirements for registration of the LTFRB,” Inton said in a statement.
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He thanked Grab Philippines for “recognizing the rights of their peers to express grievances in a peaceful manner.”
De Leon said the LTFRB must lift the ban on hatchbacks, and remove policies that are difficult to comply with to be able to operate.
Hatchbacks were allowed to operate as TNVS units until 2021 based on Memorandum Circular 2018-005 issued in 2018, he said.
However, the LTFRB recently declared that hatchbacks would not be allowed in ride-sharing services because of safety reasons.
He also complained about the difficulty in securing new requirements, such as a certificate of bank conformity for drivers whose cars are being financed by bank loans.
“Why are we dismissing hatchbacks when we already have the memorandum circular? This is where the problem lies because there is a policy that is not being implemented,” Lizada told radio dzMM.
De Leon said 30,000 TNVS operators and drivers would stop operation today.