[OPINION] Why is the LTFRB giving the public such a hard time?

Leandro C. Tulod
[OPINION] Why is the LTFRB giving the public such a hard time?
'The LTFRB cannot force bikers to transfer from Angkas to other motorcycle taxi providers when there is no assurance of the same benefits and perks they currently get from the former'

The government’s decision to lower the cap on the number of its motorcycle taxi service bikers has angered those reliant on the app-based mode of transportation, and Angkas bikers, whose motorcycles have been the source of their livelihood. 

It is quite esoteric though for the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to have this kind of attitude towards private franchisees. Since Duterte assumed office, the government agency, under the leadership of Martin Delgra III (a former legal counsel of Duterte who is also a Davao City native), has been the focal point of criticism due to policies many consider oppressive, capricious, and abusive. In 2018, the agency also received backlash from netizens when it decided to impose a cap on Transport Network Vehicles Services (TNVS).

The LTFRB, as a quasi-judicial body under the law, has the authority to perform quasi-judicial functions granted to it. This means it may acquire jurisdiction relating to any dispute concerning public grievances on transport policies, and has authority to revoke any franchise which it finds to be violative of its charter. It also plays important policy-making roles relevant to public safety mechanisms in the transportation sector. The scope of power is strong enough that an issuance of one memorandum alone may substantially affect the entire spectrum of transportation services, save those cases cognizable by the courts.

But why give the public such a hard time? If the issue has something to do with monopoly, control, or fair competition, which the law requires, then the LTFRB should first examine the effects through consultation and negotiation with parties involved. The capping should not be implemented outright while other Transportation Netwokr Companies (TNCs) are still in their initial operation, to give them ample time to augment and market their service to the riding public. (READ: #SaveAngkas trends worldwide: Netizens rage over plight of Angkas bikers)

The LTFRB cannot force bikers to transfer from Angkas to other motorcycle taxi providers when there is no assurance of the same benefits and perks they currently get from the former. This is a blatant violation of their freedom to act on certain matters personal to them. Let the other TNCs do the job. Let them find ways to attract the bikers to join them by offering better reasons to consider.

Just imagine how much potential revenue a certain company loses when being late for work is a normal occurrence among its employees. Urging employees to depart early to avoid traffic gridlock is a lame suggestion. It simply does not work. Not only does it affect their performance, it also deprives them of time for their family. (READ: FAST FACTS: State of Metro Manila’s public transport system
 
It is very disappointing that the LTFRB singles out TNCs and even TNVS in this kind of policy. I still seek clarity as to why the same rule does not apply to jeepneys, metered taxis, and tricycles, since we already have more than enough of them on our roads. What makes one distinct from the other? Shouldn’t they be put on equal footing? These questions can be subject to judicial review, to which only courts have the final say. 
 
The government should promote transport viability while it is still working on mass transport infrastructure. It should be the last one to bar any offered transport solution, especially when commuting is an everyday struggle. – Rappler.com

Leandro C. Tulod is a concerned commuter. He is in the process of transforming himself from a nobody to a somebody. He loves to go on hikes and is a certified beach bum.