Poe blasts one-month suspension of Uber as ‘cruel, absurd’
Senator Grace Poe has branded as “cruel and absurd” the one-month suspension imposed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on the operation of transport network company (TNC) Uber.
“The decision of the LTFRB to suspend Uber is both cruel and absurd, to say the least. I am aghast that this agency that committed before the Senate to resolve the issues has just imposed a cure that will only make the disease much worse,” Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said in a statement late Monday night.
“It does not solve the problem, but further exacerbates the problem of having an utter lack of safe, reliable, and convenient transportation options for our people.”
“The issue is not about roadworthiness but one that involves a mere administrative violation, which should have merited a corresponding administrative penalty. The penalty should not further prejudice the public and place the riders’ wellbeing at risk by limiting their options,” she added.
On Monday, the LTRFB ordered Uber to “cease and desist” the operation of its online booking application for one month after the latter defied the agency’s directive last July 26 not to accept and activate new drivers into its platform.
READ: LTFRB suspends Uber for 1 month
But Poe lamented the imposition of a “blanket suspension” against Uber would affect close to 200,000 riders a day.
“Our people deserve to have options when it comes to choosing convenient, safe, and reliable transportation services to brave the daily punishing traffic jam,” she said.
The suspension order, she said, was also a “defiance of the LTFRB officials’ commitment to provide a solution to the issues surrounding TNVS operations that would be beneficial for the benefit of the riding public.
The senator recalled that during the last hearing of her committee, they asked LTRFB officials to straighten out issues with the TNCs by October.
“The committee did not mean for them to suspend the operations of any TNC. I was wrong to think that the LTFRB was on the same page with the committee on how to come up with remedial rules pending the crafting of pertinent legislation,” Poe said.
“Why can’t the LTFRB be innovative in coming up with an appropriate penalty that is fair and that will not prejudice the riding public? Is there no other less crippling penalty at our disposal? Thirty days is a long time.”
“Could not the LTFRB just consider imposing a fine commensurate to whatever violation Uber has committed? Or at worst, just consider suspending the units that the agency said were accredited much later after having determined their identities?” the senator further asked.
To resolve the issue, Poe said she would call the LTFRB officials for an “urgent meeting” at the Senate at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday. CBB
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