MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Tourism (DOT) and Grab Philippines have signed an agreement to promote national tourism.
Under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked on Wednesday, tourism materials developed and produced by the DOT showcasing the Philippines’ destination sites will be promoted and disseminated by Grab through its partner vehicles and mobile application.
DOT, Grab and the Intramuros Administration also launched “GrabWheels,” a two-wheel personal mobility device (commonly called e-scooters) that tourists can use to roam around the Walled City.
Around 30 units of GrabWheels will be made available for public use within Intramuros, free of charge for at least three months.
“This is in keeping with the efforts of the DOT to inculcate a culture of sustainable tourism. This is what we envision to do to some, and ideally, to all of our destinations. We want visitors to have access to an eco-friendly but fun mode of transportation,” Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat said during the MOU signing.
“Sustainability demands that our planning and resources management must be responsible. Conversely, it should also maintain a high level of satisfaction and ensure meaningful experience of our tourists,” she stressed.
The Intramuros Administration also noted that these e-scooters will provide less carbon footprint and significantly reduce traffic congestion, which is a major problem in the area.
“This is just a pilot test. After a month, we will review its reception and determine the necessary mechanisms and setting of fees to make it sustainable,” Atty. Guiller Asido of the Intramuros Administration said.
Puyat also expressed hope that DOT’s partnership with Grab PH will help raise awareness among the public about the environmental issues facing the country.
“This partnership, hopefully, will raise their awareness about environmental issues and allow them to experience first-hand these sustainable tourism practices,” she said.
MANILA, Philippines – A local court has temporarily stopped the implementation of the highly-contested proposal to ban provincial buses from plying Epifanio delos Santos (Edsa).
In an order dated July 31 and released on August 2, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 223 has granted the writ of preliminary injunction filed by 18 transport groups against the scheme.
The QC court said it found “just cause” to stop the ban and schedule the case for hearings.
The court said it needs to hear the side of the defendants of the case – the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) considering that “the matter on hand greatly impacts the welfare of the public.”
The proposed policy of the MMDA and the LTFRB prohibits provincial buses from traversing Edsa to decongest traffic. It also seeks to revoke business permits and shut down the operation of all provincial bus terminals located along Edsa.
A dry run for the policy is supposed to begin on August 7.
The court notes in its order that these measures would have “far-reaching effects” to the businesses, employees and other contracts of provincial bus companies. It added that the shortened routes would also affect the salary of employees.
“While as a rule, the right to income or earning does not prevail over public welfare, in the instant case since the Court has as yet not been presented with a clear basis or sufficient justification for the issuances, there is no reason to consider these issuances to have priority over the Plaintiffs’ rights as well as those that would suffer from their implementation,” the order read.
The court also asked the MMDA and the LTFRB on why point-to-point (P2P) buses are given privilege of plying Edsa even if their sizes were similar to those of regular buses.
It further said that since the said agencies failed to file a response, “no explanation or study has been presented to this Court to aid the latter in determining whether the provincial buses are indeed the cause of ‘horrendous traffic’ and if their ban and closure of their terminals is the best solution.”
“In view of the absence of any evidence on behalf of the Public Defendants, the evidence provided so far by the Plaintiffs tend to show that indeed, there was abuse in the issuance of the subject LTFRB MC and MMDA Regulation,” the order read.
The court gave the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG), which represents the MMDA and the LTFRB, until August 14 to file a response to the case.
MANILA, Philippines – The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) on Wednesday asked the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to explain alleged irregularities in its policies for the application of permit for transport network vehicle service (TNVS).
In its show-cause order, the ARTA directed LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra to explain within three days the purported delays in the processing of permits and other irregularities as complained by TNVS applicants.
Based on its order, the anti-red tape agency said that among the other irregularities “identified and determined” to have been committed by the LTFRB was its failure to enforce Memorandum Circular No. 2018-005; failure to conduct hearings and render decisions for an unreasonable length of time on applications for certificate of public convenience to operate TNVS; and implementing abrupt changes in the requirements and procedures for TNVS application without due notice to the public.
The ARTA said failure to explain the aforementioned issues could be tantamount to defying President Rodrigo Duterte’s order to stop red tape in the government.
In a message to reporters, Delgra confirmed he has received the notice and assured to submit an explanation addressing the allegations within the deadline.
ARTA’s order came after groups of TNVS driver and operators went offline earlier this month in protest of LTFRB’s alleged inconsistencies in its policies in terms of TNVS application and registration. (with details from Joan Nano)
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