Uber suspension lifted after paying P489-M

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 29 2017 05:07 PM | Updated as of Aug 29 2017 08:15 PM

Uber Philippines in Pasig City.Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATE) - The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Tuesday lifted its suspension of Uber after the ride-sharing service paid nearly half a billion pesos to the government and displaced drivers. 

Uber, which has wrangled with the LTFRB on the scope of regulation on ride-sharing companies, said it resumed operations at 5 p.m.

San Francisco, California-based Uber said it was "grateful for the opportunity to serve the Philippines again." 

Uber on Tuesday paid a P190-million fine and another P299 million as compensation to its partner drivers. 

Uber was suspended on Aug. 14 after it defied an LTFRB order against registering new cars. It was earlier fined P5 million for violation of its license to operate. 

"Basically, we mentioned the problem is getting too big. Stop muna, ‘wag na muna kahit ‘yung pag-accept ng applications para ma-kontrol natin ‘yung problema kasi lumalaki. We did an investigation of due diligence, ‘yung Grab naman was compliant, ‘yung Uber was not. So we have to act decisively or lalaki nang lalaki ‘yung problema," LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra told radio DZMM.

Delgra said Uber now has around 66,000 active units, while Grab has 55,000.

 

The LTFRB has also issued an advisory to Uber partner-drivers to post proof that they received financial assistance the company promised within the period it was suspended.

"For those who have been receiving financial assistance from Uber Systems Inc. for the period 15 to 29 August 2017, LTFRB is conducting due diligence on this. Kindly post a sample of your trip earnings," the advisory read.

"We had that advisory precisely to verify kung tama ba ‘yung financial assistance na ibinibigay or naibigay na ng Uber," Delgra said.

Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said she would prioritize the crafting of a bill covering regulations and guidelines for ride-sharing services to avoid a recurrence of a similar suspension "rooted on the apparent inability of the LTFRB to adjust and adapt to new technology."

"Based on what happened, it seems that it flexes its discretion as a whimsical regulator just for the sake of imposing regulations," Poe said in a statement.

Application-based, on-demand transport services like Uber and Grab are popular in urban areas, especially in Metro Manila, where millions endure traffic jams and train breakdowns.

The Philippines is the first country in the world to regulate ride-sharing and Uber had wrangled with regulators on its scope.