LTFRB: Uber suspension still in effect pending review of MR

By Aerol John Pateña

August 15, 2017, 6:11 pm

MANILA -- The one month suspension of the accreditation of transportation network company (TNC) Uber remains in effect despite its pending motion for reconsideration, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said Tuesday.

LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada presents Uber's certificate of accreditation before members of the media in a briefing on suspension of its operations due to continuing activation of new drivers into its system 

In a press briefing, LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada said the agency will continue to apprehend the transport network vehicle services (TNVS) of Uber if they were found to be still operating on the road.

Lizada made the statement after Uber filed a motion for reconsideration (MR) asking the LTFRB to lift the suspension order issued Monday.

The LTFRB suspended Uber's accreditation after it defied a directive dated July 26, 2017 halting the activation of the TNC.

Lizada questioned Uber for resuming operations despite the suspension order, after filing the MR.

“What Uber did now saying that they will now be online, they are putting at risk all of its TNVS. What kind of a partner is that? We want Uber to uphold a level of accountability and not leave their TNVS partners behind,” Lizada said.

She further said that the board considers Uber’s continuing operations despite the suspension of its accreditation as acts of contempt.

For his part, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III reiterated that the mere acceptance of Uber of new drivers into its system is already a violation of its order.

He said the board has apprehended 19 “colorum” Uber and 16 “colorum” Grab TNVS which have no certificates of public convenience or provisional authority.

“The TNCs have already admitted that some of their TNVS are colorum. We just want this problem to be nipped in the bud before it becomes worse,” Delgra said.

“We are supporting innovations in our transportation system through the use of modern technology but we also want to ensure that these will be compliant with the law,” he added.

Lizada explained that the LTFRB only wants to ensure that TNCs will be able to protect the welfare of their TNVS partners.

“It is incumbent upon the Board to choose TNCs that will protect the welfare of TNVS. This is not a fight; we just want to support TNCs that protect the public welfare,” she said.

In its motion, Uber stated that the LTFRB suspension order against it was a “blatant violation” of its right to due process.

Furthermore, it said that there was no proof it violated the LTFRB’s order stop the activation of new drivers.

“Over the course of this morning, tens of thousands of riders were left stranded, causing needless inconvenience, while drivers were unable to access the earning opportunities they rely on. We are looking forward to urgently resolving this matter with LTFRB in the interests of everyone who depends on Uber every day,” Uber said in its official Facebook page.

In its order, the LTFRB directed Uber to cease and desist the operations of its online booking applications.

It is holding the TNC responsible for all its accredited “colorum” TNVS apprehended during the suspension period, if these were discovered, that they continue to accept passengers using their mobile application.

“The latest irresponsible act of the Respondent Uber is not about pushing innovation in the context of fair regulation but it is about unduly challenging the limit of fair regulation to continue to engage in business in this country thereby compromising sound business practices. In effect, adversely creating an uneven playing field for the rest of the stakeholders, among them franchise holders of public transport services covering taxis, buses, UV Express and public utility jeepneys, who are also governed by the same regulation,” the LTFRB said in its order. (PNA)