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Angie M. Rosales

Koko to LTFRB: Speed up entry of new players in TNVS

Thursday, 05 April 2018 00:00 Published in Metro

Following the scheduled “exit” of ride-hailing firm Uber in the transport network vehicle service (TNVS) in the country next week, Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III yesterday said the entry of new players should be fast-tracked by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

“The LTFRB’s announcement that there are three new ride-sharing companies that want to enter the country can only be considered good news if any or all of these companies actually get to service our countrymen,” he said.
“We need real competition, not potential competition. As long as riders have zero options, they will be vulnerable to overpricing and poor service and this is where the LTFRB must come in,” Pimentel added.
The LTFRB should strike a balance between encouraging the entry of new players and the need for these players to comply with the country’s TNVS guidelines.
It’s incumbent upon the LTFRB to work overtime to act on and fast-track the pending applications of new TNVS players to ensure competition and reasonable prices for the commuting public.
“There is a legitimate fear among regular TNVS users that Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s operations in the country will lead to higher fares which is the natural consequence when a player monopolizes a particular industry,” he said.
The Senate chief noted that a number of regular TNVS users regularly compare the rates of Uber and Grab before booking a ride, an option that will no longer be available to commuters following the merging of the two transport network companies beginning April 9.
The senator said the LTFRB should ensure that Grab will not take advantage of its monopoly of the TNVS industry.
On March 26, Singapore-based Grab acquired Uber’s Southeast Asia operations, covering ride-sharing services in the Philippines, as well as Uber’s operations in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Uber’s last day of operations in the Philippines will be on April 8.
The LTFRB, Pimentel said, should also pay close attention to feedback from TNVS users and put in mechanisms to immediately act on rider complaints.
“Social media has provided the LTFRB with the tools to monitor the prices and the performance of Grab after Uber exits. But the real test will be how they respond to the feedback from commuters. They should be ready to act on complaints to discourage Grab and its drivers from violating TNVS rules and regulations,” he said.

Sen. Leila de Lima yesterday slammed Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for assailing the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) adoption of a resolution calling for her immediate release from jail.

De Lima retaliated at Pimentel’s criticisms, saying that the IPU does not understand the Philippine Constitution when it called for her release from detention.
“The problem is not that the IPU is ignorant of our Constitution and our laws. It is that Pimentel and other officials have been so blinded by power that they can no longer see justice. They have already forgotten that this is what our Constitution and our laws are, for justice. Not for one man’s absolute power, and other men’s consuming ambition,” she said.
The senator said it’s Pimentel and Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo who are ignorant of the IPU process in its investigation of cases of oppression and persecution of legislators by their own governments the world over.
“The supporters of President Duterte, including Sen. Koko Pimentel, should stop avoiding the issue about my continued unjust detention by invoking legalisms and technicalities in relation to the recommendation of the IPU,” she said.
“The IPU is merely appealing to the sense of fairness and justice of the court to get an unbiased view of the trumped-up cases of illegal drug trade filed against me,” she added.
Pimentel claimed that the IPU does not understand the Philippine Constitution by recommending, among others, to release de Lima from unjust detention, “unless serious evidence is rapidly forthcoming.”
“If they insist that we observe their rules, then they are insulting us and not respecting our sovereignty to determine our own rules. Our basic rules can be found in our Constitution,” he said.
In response, de Lima said she hopes Pimentel would “start speaking in behalf of the Senate and his colleagues and not in behalf of Duterte.”
“Unlike Pimentel’s indifference, the IPU consciously raises the alarm on the persecution of opposition lawmakers. They believe that the opposition is a vital part of any democracy in the world. For them, the absence of a genuine opposition can only mean the dominance of an authoritarian government,” she said.
“In silencing opposition lawmakers through political persecution, democracy is diminished. This is why the IPU has cause for alarm when lawmakers are persecuted by strongmen, tyrants and despotic heads of state. This is the plain fact that Pimentel refuses to understand. Seemingly, and this is quite unfortunate, Pimentel sees nothing objectionable to what was done to me, which could mean that he doubts my innocence,” de Lima added.

Poe lauds DoTr’s efforts in making repair works on MRT-3

Wednesday, 04 April 2018 00:00 Published in Metro

Sen. Grace Poe gave credit this time to the Department of Transportation’s (DoTr’s) efforts in pursuing the maintenance and repair works on the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3) which is now operating with 13 running trains.

Having been critical of the DoTr’s apparent lack of efforts in the past in addressing the concerns of the MRT, Poe yesterday said the latest development on the said railway system will finally be the start of the promised resurrection of its services and reversal of its abysmal record of unfortunate events.
“We also hope this would alleviate the sufferings of the commuters who brave the long queues every day to get a ride and often get off-loaded when the train encounters technical glitches,” she said.
Poe, chairman of the Senate public services committee, however, urged the DoTr to keep its promise of increasing the running trains to 20, each having four-car configuration to transport more passengers at a faster pace.
“But 13 and soon 20 trains are better than seven or eight. We will keep watch until we have a train system that is affordable, efficient, safe and comfortable, because the public deserves no less,” the senator said.
The MRT management has promised to restore 15 trains this week or about 75 percent of its rated maximum capacity and provide better commuting experience to the public.
Poe, chairman of the Senate public services committee, reminded transportation officials that a comprehensive program to rehabilitate and maintain the MRT is what is necessary to ensure its safe and efficient operations.
“In the days ahead, we hope we can hear developments from the DoTr on the issue of the Dalian trains as well. We know we have long way to go before we can have a train system at par with developed countries,” she said.

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