Senate panels approve report legalizing motorcycle taxis

Robie de Guzman   •   February 13, 2020   •   935

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate committees on public services and local government have approved a committee report allowing the use of motorcycle taxis as a form of public transport in the country.

Sixteen senators signed the Committee Report No. 46 released on Thursday which recommended the approval of Senate Bill No. 1341 or the Motorcycles-for-Hire Act.

The bill, which seeks to amend a provision of Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, classifies motorcycles-for-hire as among the public utility vehicles regulated by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

“We are inching closer to having a law that will make motorcycle taxis a part of our public transportation system,” Senator Grace Poe, who heads the public services panel, said in a statement.

The proposal defines motorcycles-for-hire as any two-wheeled motor vehicle registered with the Land Transportation Office, which transports passengers and goods on a for-hire basis, and which may utilize online ride-hailing or pre-arranged transportation platforms.

The bill states that the motorcycle should weigh less than 1,000 kilograms, can travel faster than 50 kilometers per hour, has a minimum engine displacement of 125 cubic centimeters, and a backbone-type built.

Along with the vehicle registration, the motorcycles for hire will also be required to secure a certificate of public convenience or a special permit issued by the LTFRB.

The measure also states that motorcycle taxis fall under a classification of public utility automobiles along with public utility trucks, taxis and auto-calesas, garage automobiles, hire trucks and trucks owned by contractor and customs brokers and customs agents.

“We will continue looking for ways and means to improve the people’s mobility and assure their safety,” Poe said.

The approval of the committee report comes a month before the expiry of the extended pilot run for motorcycle taxis, which permitted transport firms, Angkas, MoveIt and JoyRide to ferry commuters.

Pangilinan proposes expansion of fuel subsidy to other PUV drivers in 2022

Maris Federez   •   November 22, 2021

 

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Pangilinan wants the coverage of the government’s fuel subsidy beneficiaries to be expanded next year once the prices of petroleum products increase anew.

During the Senate deliberation on the 2022 budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Pangilinan proposed that a special provision be added to the General Appropriations Bill for 2022.

Pangilinan said this will extend the coverage of the Pantawid Pasada Program to public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers once the prices of crude oil in the world market go up to USD 80 per barrel.

“It can or may include taxi, tricycle drivers, ride-hailing, delivery services considering that we are still in a state of emergency,” Pangilinan said.

Pangilinan said the fuel subsidy is only limited to legitimate public utility jeepney franchise grantees.

Senator Grace Poe who sponsored the DOTr’s budget agreed to Pangilinan’s proposal.

The DOTr’s proposed 2022 budget for its fuel subsidy program is at Php5-billion.

“The aim of this Php5 billion is for 365,000 units of PUV to be subsidized at 13,500 per unit. But if we can expand the program so that those in the other types of PUV can be covered that would certainly be welcome if we can find funding for that,” Poe said.

Transport group, Pasang Masda, welcomed this Senate initiative.

“Maganda na yung may mga initiative na ganito na talagang mayroon silang mga magandang programa para sa mga drivers ng pampublikong sasakyan. Ako’y nagpapasalamat dito,” said Pasang Masda president Obet Martin.

Martin, however, said drivers are still awaiting the fuel subsidy for this year.

He also called on Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Martin Delgra regarding the implementation of fuel discounts in select gasoline stations.

“Ang ceiling na hinihingi namin P3 hanggang P5 kung makakaya nila hanggang sa mataas lang ang presyo ng petroleum products. Eh ngayon nga medyo bumababa na, eh hindi pa rin namin nararamdaman ‘to,” Martin said.

The group also hopes that the government’s free ride project will continue in 2022.

The DOTr has allotted around Php10-billion budget for the service contracting program for 2022.

Poe said the Senate Committee on Public Services will look closely at the transportation department’s implementation of its programs to ensure that PUV drivers are well-protected. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Harlene Delgado)

House panel approves Motorcycles-for-Hire Act

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Lower House has approved the bill that seeks to legitimize the operation of motorcycle taxis and craft clear regulations that will be applied on the said mode of transportation as well as that of motorcycle delivery services in the country.

The House Committee on Transportation on Wednesday announced that it has approved the proposed Motorcycles-for-Hire Act.

The proposed bill which awaits deliberation in the House plenary will give way to the drafting of standard operating procedures as well as penalties to be imposed on violators in the operation of motorcycles for hire.

This will guarantee that riders will own the responsibility of ensuring the safety of their passengers or the products that they will deliver.

Motorcycles to be used in such services must be registered under the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in accordance with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) standards.

No modification or alteration must be done in the original make of the motorcycle except for the installation of a top box and motorcycle bracket.

Motorcycle taxi and delivery riders must possess a professional driver’s license.

Failure to abide by these regulations will render fines and cancelation of licenses of riders or revocation of the franchise of the operator.

House Committee chairman and Samar Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento said the proposed bill will allay concerns of the riders on the changing policies of the government on motorcycle taxis.

“Masayang masaya na after all these years makakamit na rin po natin ang batas–maisabatas na ang pagre-regulate ng motorcycle taxi na alam naman po natin ginagawa na po ng milyon-milyong ating mga kababayan,” said Angkas co-founder and Chief Operations Advocate George Royeca.

He said their group sees this development as a big help to the riding public amid the pandemic.

“Alam mo, we need as many alternative modes of transportation as we can, lalo na ngayong pandemya. Mobility is very, very important. Because of the limitations of the pandemic, I believe na yung open air ventilation is one of the most important or critical aspects,” Royeca said.

The Senate has already approved its version of the bill.—/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

Senate panel sets probe on water franchises for Sept. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   August 31, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – A Senate panel is set to tackle this week the franchise applications of concessionaires, Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Company.

The Senate committee on public services will conduct the virtual inquiry on Wednesday, Sept. 1.

“It is the goal of our committee to ensure that the franchise applicants will indeed put the welfare of our people first,” Senator Grace Poe, who chairs the committee, said in a statement.

The senator earlier assured that the bills will go through a fine-tooth comb and challenged the applicants not only to provide access to safe and clean water, but also root out the inconvenience of constant water interruptions.

Citing 2013 and 2016 studies, Poe said the Asian Development Bank has rated the country’s water security at the bottom quarter out of 48 Asia-Pacific countries, with poor governance as the main cause, not water scarcity.

Currently, 15 million Filipinos still do not have access to water while more than 55 people die every day from water-related causes, she added.

“Now more than ever, access to safe and affordable water is basic and crucial in our fight to douse the risks and perils of the unseen virus,” Poe said.

Maynilad Water services the west zone area of Metro Manila and the province of Cavite while Manila Water maintains the waterworks and sewerage system in the east zone and the province of Rizal.

Among the guests invited to the hearing are some officials from the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, Manila Water, Maynilad, Philippine Competition Commission, Department of Justice, and some representatives from consumer groups.

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