Text: Anton Andres / Photos: | posted June 14, 2015 22:53
House committee to discuss liabilities and tax obligations
Last month, the LTFRB and DOTC approved private car sharing operations to be registered under Transportation Network Vehicles Services (TNVS) and Transportation Network Companies (TNCs). Congress has recommended the suspension of operations such as GrabCar and Uber until they have complied with government regulation requirements.
The Technical Working Group (TWG) of the House Committee on Transportation criticized the DOTC and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board for allowing private vehicles to be used as taxis while suspending the issuance of taxi franchises. The recent amendment of the two agencies, called DO 2015-11, recognizes new forms of transportation services such as the TNCs, which include Uber, GrabCar and EasyCars, to promote mobility and modernize and improve transport services.
During the TWG meeting presided by Batangas Rep. Raneo E. Abu, the lawmaker said the primary agenda of their latest hearing was to determine whether the TNCs and TNVS are public utilities or not, and to discuss their liability in case of accidents and their tax obligations. Abu also stated that these private hire cars should be listed under colorum and questioned the PNP on why they have yet to apprehend the operators.
Nueva Ecija Rep. Estrellita B. Suansing said the owner of Uber should appear before the committee to explain their business model. "Why are they being allowed to operate when they are only listed as system developer? They are not certified transport services," said Suansing. She also said TNCs should utilize franchised taxis instead of privately owned vehicles. The congresswoman also said that TNCs issue receipts, they should be taxed not only for the commission in arranging the trip, but for the entire cost or fare collected from the passengers.
On taxation, Surigao del Sur Rep. Philip A. Pichay said tax clearance from both the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) should be required from the TNCs. He requested the income tax reports and financial statements of Uber and GrabCar.
The LTFRB issued a memo to to set the rules and regulations concerning the following: accreditation of TNCs and TNVS; certification of TNCs; and guidelines on the acceptance of application for a Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC) to operate TNVS in the country.
LTFRB acting director Robert Peig, Uber representative Atty. Donemark Calimon and Bryan Cu of GrabCar agreed that TNCs and TNVCs should have tax obligations and operators should be held liable for any violations and offenses committed. In the interest of public safety, vehicle owners and drivers must be registered with the TNCs according to them. Pieg also said that owners of TNVS have the same liabilities as any public utility operator.