LTFRB junks Uber appeal to lift suspension

By Aerol John Pateña

August 15, 2017, 9:44 pm

MANILA -- The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has denied the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by transportation network company Uber on the one month suspension of its operations.

In its order issued Tuesday afternoon, the LTFRB said Uber’s continuing acceptance of new drivers into its system despite an order last July 26 to halt activation has led to the rise in the number of “colorum” transportation network vehicle services (TNVS) which have no certificates of public convenience or provisional authority.

“The Board expressly directed that there shall be no acceptance of additional application for accreditation of TNVS. The mere acceptance, much less, receipt and evaluation of documents submitted by applicants for accreditation is tantamount to a direct violation of the order dated July 26, 2017. The public statement by respondent Uber Systems Inc. (USI) openly admitting that they were still accepting applications simply become a declaration against interest,” the LTFRB said in its ruling.

The LTFRB directed Uber to stop its practice of accepting new applications beyond the issuance of the moratorium as it may pose “regulatory problems” pending the review of policies on TNCs and TNVS.

“USI’s continued advertisement, acceptance and accreditation of peers despite the moratorium imposed by the Board on TNVS applications gave rise to the rising number of TNVS which only prejudiced the misguided applicants, because they were not duly informed by the respondent USI of the requisite franchise requirements, and who were of the assumption that once accredited by USI, they can legally ferry passengers and earn from their accreditation as TNVS peers,” the Board further said.

In a press briefing, LTFRB board member and spokesperson Aileen Lizada said the agency wants to ensure that TNCs will be able to protect the welfare of their TNVS partners.

"This is not a fight; we just want to support TNCs that protect the public welfare,” she said.

Uber, in its MR, said the LTFRB suspension order was a “blatant violation” of its right to due process. It added there was no proof it violated the LTFRB’s order stopping the activation of new drivers.

In its suspension order dated August 14, 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 that were 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,” the LTFRB said in its order. (PNA)