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Senators: LTFRB decision vs Uber hurts commuters the most

By: - Reporter / @JhoannaBINQ
/ 01:13 PM August 15, 2017

File photo of the headquarters of Uber in San Francisco. In the Philippines, the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board receives a lot of criticisms for suspending Uber operations for one month. AP

(Updated 1:51 p.m., Aug. 15) Senators slammed on Tuesday the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s (LTFRB) “hasty and untimely” decision to suspend the operations of transport network company (TNC) Uber for one month.

READ: LTFRB suspends Uber for 1 month

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“LTFRB’s order to suspend Uber’s operations for one month is a hasty and untimely decision which will cause further frustration and chaos for hundreds of thousands of commuters who have no choice but to make the most out of Metro Manila’s inadequate public transportation system,” Senator Sherwin Gatchalian said in a statement.

Gatchalian urged the LTFRB to immediately lift its suspension order to stop the situation from “getting out of hand” and instead, impose a larger fine on Uber for its violations.

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He also asked the agency to lift its accreditation ban and begin processing new TNVS applications from Grab, Uber, and other platforms.

Senator Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, meanwhile, said that suspending Uber’s operations penalizes the riders and the drivers more than the company itself.

“If they wanted to penalize Uber, the LTFRB could have issued a fine. Instead, they suspend operations leaving the commuters with less option,” Aquino said in a separate statement.

Aquino filed Senate Bill No. 696 or the Rideshare Support Company (RSC) Bill, which aims to promote and encourage new, affordable and safe transportation options for the commuting public, like Uber and Grab.

Once approved, RSCs must obtain certificate of accreditation from LTFRB before getting an authority to onboard qualified Rideshare Network Driver after a thorough background check and submission of pertinent documents.

READ: Uber announces suspension of operations

Hurt Uber, not public

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Senate Pro Tempore Ralph Recto echoed Gatchalian and Aquino’s call to fine Uber and not the “tired and harassed” riding public.

“So instead of suspension, can the penalty be in the form of a fine? If legally feasible, make it in the seven figures again, as a painful reminder to comply with regulations,” Recto said.

Senator Joel Villanueva, for his part, called on both parties to come up with an amicable resolution for the benefit of the public.

“At the end of the day, the riding public will suffer the most from a failure to reach a workable solution,” Villanueva said.

Senator Francis Pangilinan shared his fellow senators’ sentiments and urged the LTFRB to let Uber operate while the issues are being resolved.

“As regulators, the LTFRB should be enabling and empowering, not prohibiting of the available technology that has in a way helped solve the lack of reliable, safe, and comfortable means of transportation for the Filipinos,” Pangilinan said.

As of posting time, Uber Philippines resumed its operations after submitting a motion for reconsideration before the LTFRB regarding its one-month suspension. JPV

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TAGS: LTFRB, reckless decision, Senate of the Philippines, senators, Transport Network Company, Uber
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