The Daily Manila Shimbun


House moves for more protection and comfort for cab passengers

May 30, 2017

The House committee on transportation, addressing complaints against taxi drivers, notably their refusal to serve commuters and failure to give change, has begun discussions on various measures seeking to institutionalize and strengthen the rights of taxi passengers. Discussed by the committee were: House Bill 106 titled, “An Act Establishing the Taxi Passengers’ Rights” authored by Rep. Angelina Tan of Quezon; HB  758 or the proposed “An Act Providing for the Regulation of Activities of Taxi Drivers and Operators” by Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar of partylist DIW HB 296 or the proposed “An Act Establishing the Taxi Passengers’ Rights,” by Reps. Horacio Suansing of Sultan Kudarat and Estrellita Suansing of Nueva Ecija and HB No. 4433 or the proposed “An Act Penalizing the Charging of Taxi Fares which are Higher than the Official Rates, the Failure to Use the Taxi Meters, or the Refusal to Carry Taxi Passengers Without Cause, to Their Places of Destination”  by Rep. Harlin Neil Abayon III of partylist AANGAT TAYO. Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, the committee chairman, said he is exploring the idea of creating a “Bill of Rights” not only for the passengers of taxi but also for other land-based transportation such as bus, Uber, Grab, UV Express, and other land-based public utility vehicles (PUVs). "We face a very big challenge as far as mobility is concerned and the use of taxi has become a necessity as evidenced by the great number of taxi cabs we see on the roads everyday,” said Sarmiento. Sarmiento urged his colleagues “to do what is necessary to develop our transport system to be the best it can be and to keep our roads safe.” During the hearing, Tan said her measure, HB 106, seeks to protect the taxi passengers and penalize taxi drivers and operators who commit unscrupulous practices. She explained some taxi drivers and operators take advantage of the commuting public’s reliance on taxis in going to their places of destination. Aglipay-Villar argued that one of the solutions in easing the traffic is to discourage the ownership and use of private vehicles and raise the standards of public transportation, especially the taxi. Aglipay-Villar said the taxi has gained notoriety among the riding public, citing incidents of “abusive and discourteous taxi drivers who either pick their passengers based on their personal convenience or charge excessive fares without using their taximeters.” Aglipay-Villar also mentioned there are even passengers who become victims of “hold-up” or mugged by taxi drivers. The Suansing lawmakers said their HB 296 seeks to establish transportation service standards for taxi passengers to ensure their safe travel. They acknowledged the taxi is the preferred mode of transportation of the general public as it is faster and more convenient. Abayon said his HB 4433 seeks to encourage taxi drivers to respect the law. DMS