Gatchalian urges LTFRB to review Grab PH fare matrix

Robie de Guzman   •   December 17, 2019   •   812

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian is asking the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to re-assess the fare matrix of ride-hailing company Grab Philippines amid reports of sudden price surge.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Gatchalian said he wants to see a logical basis why the ride-hailing firm imposes such high fare rates and for the LTFRB “to make sure rules on price surging is being followed.”

“The high fare is killing the festive mood of many Filipino commuters. We don’t want to let Grab play the Grinch who stole Christmas from Juan de la Cruz because of high fare,” he said.

The LTFRB in August approved the fare matrix, which allows Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) companies to charge a flag down rate of up to P40 for car sedans, up to P50 for premium sport utility vehicles (SUV), and up to P30 for hatchbacks or sub-compact vehicles.  

The Board also allowed a P15 additional charge per kilometer for sedans, P18 for SUVs, and P13 for hatchbacks, aside from the P2 charge per minute of travel. It also allowed TNVS firms to double their per kilometer and per minute charge through surge pricing.

The lawmaker noted Grab’s earlier explanation that it is currently working on a “very limited number of drivers to serve exponentially high demand.”

But Gatchalian wants the company to explain why it has imposed surge pricing “even in the wee hours of the morning when the demand is low and there are fewer vehicles on the road.”

In view of this issue, Gatchalian cited the importance of having real competition in the ride-hailing industry to force Grab to lower its rate and provide more options for commuters.

“Without competition in the hail-riding industry, our poor commuters will always be at the mercy of high fares,” he said.

LTFRB mulls resuming operations of provincial buses from Metro Manila

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 16, 2020

After six months of temporary suspension due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, the Land Transportation Franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is now eyeing to resume operations of provincial buses from Metro Manila.

LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra said they are continuously preparing and coordinating with several local governments on the possible return of provincial buses.

However, there are still provinces that continue to ban the entry of travelers from Metro Manila. Delgra said only Antique, Quirino, and Bataan agreed to open its doors to buses coming from Metro Manila.

“Whatever the case may be, we need to closely coordinate with the LGUs concerned because at the end of every trip it is the LGU that will receive and manage passengers in their respective jurisdictions,” he said.

Meanwhile, several local officials recommended a point-to-point scheme for provincial buses. The LTFRB reiterated they will also consider the areas along the route of the buses.

“They are suggesting na parang point to point po iyong pagbi-biyahe,” Delgra said.

Provincial bus operators have been appealing to the government to allow the resumption of their operations even if its on a limited capacity. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Gatchalian wants to regulate online business transactions to protect consumers

Robie de Guzman   •   September 4, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday pushed for the passage of a bill seeking to put in place strict regulations to protect consumers amid the radical change in the country’s business climate with more online businesses registering.

In a statement, Gatchalian said his Senate Bill No. 1591 or the Internet Transactions Act aims to update the country’s regulatory environment to protect consumers from “unethical and unscrupulous practices” on the internet.

Gatchalian said it is important for the government regulatory board and online shopping platforms “to get their acts together” to easily track down those liable from unscrupulous online trading as more and more people and entrepreneurs are shifting their transactions online.

The lawmaker took note of the significant increase in the number of online businesses registering with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) from March 16 to August 31, or a total of 73,276 businesses registered. This is a sharp rise from the 1,753 online businesses that have registered with the agency before the strict community quarantine was imposed in the country.

While e-Commerce makes transactions easier and faster and strengthens the country’s digital economy, Gatchalian said consumers may run the risk of being fooled into buying products to the detriment of their health.

He is particularly referring to supplements being sold in various online selling platforms despite warnings from the Food and Drug Administration.

“This is a dilemma of the future. There are a lot of online platforms right now and they have the entire marketplace where suppliers can get all the products all over the world. Walang habol ang online buyers kung may problema sa nabili nilang produkto. They are left holding the bag,” he said.

“So, this is something that the bill wants to solve – to make online platforms liable so that they can keep track of the supplies they’re selling in the marketplace,” he added.

He said online selling platforms should step up and implement measures to stop unscrupulous activities.

“What are they doing to stop this? Up to this time, this is still happening. Our kababayans are consuming all products they see online but obviously these online platforms are not doing enough,” he added.

Gatchalian stressed that it is paramount to enact the bill into law to resolve key concerns in the country’s eCommerce industry such as internet and logistics infrastructure, payment mechanisms, taxation, and online consumer complaints.

Mas maraming pampasaherong jeep, papasada sa Metro Manila simula Agosto 26

Robie de Guzman   •   August 24, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Higit 1,000 pang unit ng tradisyunal na public utility jeepneys (PUJ) ang pinayagan ng Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) na pumasada sa iba’t ibang bahagi ng Metro Manila.

Sa isang pahayag, sinabi ng LTFRB na ang hakbang ay bahagi ng plano ng Department of Transportation (DOTr) na gradual o unti-unting pagpapanumbalik sa operasyon ng mga pampublikong transportasyon upang maserbisyuhan ang mga pasaherong pumapasok na sa trabaho sa gitna ng banta ng novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ayon sa LTFRB, nasa 1,333 karagdagang traditional PUJs ang papasada sa 23 ruta sa Metro Manila simula sa Miyerkules, Agosto 26.

Batay sa Memorandum Circular 2020-040, maaaring bumiyahe ang mga nasabing jeep nang walang special permit pero kapalit nito ay ang QR code na ibibigay sa bawat operator bago pumasada.

Ang QR Code ay dapat naka-print sa short bond paper at naka-display sa PUJ unit. Maaari itong i-download QR Code mula sa website ng LTFRB simula Martes ng hapon, Agosto 25.

Kailangan ring naka-register sa Land Transportation Office (LTO) ang PUJ unit bilang roadworthy o akma sa pagbiyahe sa kalsada, at mayroong valid Personal Passenger Insurance Policy.

Kabilang din sa mga requirement para mag-operate ang traditional PUJs ay ang pagsunod sa safety measures alinsunod sa mga alintuntunin ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) tulad ng pagsuri sa body temperature, pagsusuot ng face mask/shield at gloves sa lahat ng oras, at ang pag-operate ng 50% maximum passenger capacity ng PUJ.

Batay sa datos ng LTFRB, umaabot na sa kabuuang 13,776 na traditional PUJ units ang pinayagang magbalik-pasada simula nang isailalim ang Metro Manila sa general community quarantine status.

Muli namang paalala ng ahensiya sa jeepney drivers at operators, walang taas-pasahe na ipatutupad maliban na ang kung inaprubahan ito ng LTFRB.

Sa ngayon, nasa P9.00 pa rin ang pasahe sa unang apat na kilometro at dagdag na P1.50 sa mga susunod na kilometro.

Muli ring nagpaalala ang ahensya hinggil sa pagpapatupad ng social distancing protocols at ang ‘no face mask, no face shield, no ride’ policy sa mga pampublikong sasakyan. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Joan Nano)

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