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. 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.
The ruling disenfranchises close to 200,000 riders a day with the imposition of a blanket suspension against the operation of Uber along with all its accredited vehicles for one long month. Our people deserve to have options when it comes to choosing convenient, safe, and reliable transportation services to brave the daily punishing traffic jam.
The suspension order is a defiance of the LTFRB officials' commitment to provide a solution to the issues surrounding TNVS operations that will be for the benefit of the riding public. When the Senate Committee on Public Services, during the last hearing, asked them to straighten out issues with the Transport Network Companies 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.
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?
Without reliable public transportation, those who depend on Uber for their daily commute will have to find an alternative or revert to their long and usual daily grind. Was the interest of the riding public, that is now compromised and jeopardized, ever factored in when the LTFRB came up with the suspension order? The LTFRB is well aware that even Uber's competitor admits that it is unable to service all those who try to book with them.
Thus, I will call the LTFRB officials for an urgent meeting at the Senate this Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. to resolve this issue as public interest requires that we exercise congressional oversight over this public harm that is sure to befall our people.
Source: Senate of the Philippines