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Sunday, January 20, 2019

‘Stop transport network firms’

A GROUP of taxi operators in Cebu has asked the court to stop the Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) from issuing certificates of public convenience to transportation network firm, like Uber, Grab and U-Hop in the country.

The Metro Cebu Taxi Operators filed a civil petition for declaratory relief and temporary restraining order before the Regional Trial Court against LTO and LTFRB on June 29.

They asked the court to direct the agencies from issuing provisional transport permits to Grab, Uber and U-Hop.

“What is at stake here is not only the right of petitioners, but also the welfare and safety of the public, as well as the integrity and sanctity of the fundamental law of the land,” read the petition.

The petitioners are Richard Cabucos, Richard Corominas, Chiquito Obeso, Cardinal Lim, Peter Corominas, Mariano Terence Blanco, Paul Corominas, Mayo Perez, Michael Lee, and Glenn Batiancila.

The petitioners said they are seeking redress and equal protection of law in relation to the supposed evolution transportation system.

“Indeed, the ruling of this court on this case will practically be a matter of life and death for petitioners, and in the long-term the public,” read the petition prepared by their lawyer Maricar Joy Taneda Tallo.

Operations

Transport network companies Uber System, Inc., Grab Taxi and U-hop began their operations in the country in 2014.

This came after the LTFRB issued a department order giving them provisional authority to operate transportation network vehicle services.

But the petitioners said the respondents allowed these vehicle service firms to operate without the certificate of public convenience, thus violating the Public Service Act and the Constitution.

The petitioners said the LTFRB unduly delegated its functions to regulate fares, rates, and other related charges relative to foreign transport network companies.

“Needless to say, this unequal treatment has caused material damage to taxi operators not only in terms of financial consideration, but also in the hiring of drivers who prefer the ‘more lucrative’ transport network vehicles system unit,” the petition read.

Foreign

The petitioners said the respondents are also allowing foreign firms to profit from the riding public in the guise of operating public service vehicles.

The taxi operators asked the court to declare as null the administrative regulations issued by the DOTC and the LTFRB since they violate the Commonwealth Act and the Constitution.
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