Hontiveros to LTFRB: Stop selective crackdown just to prove a point, review suspension order

Following the suspension order of Uber, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros urged the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to stop its 'selective crackdown just to prove a point' and review its suspension order. The Akbayan Senator said that the blanket suspension affects at least 200,000 riders in Metro Manila daily.

"Commuters are taking the brunt of this punishment, which is unfair," she told LTFRB officials during a meeting at the Senate on Wednesday. On Monday, LTFRB suspended the accreditation and operations Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) provider Uber System, Inc. (Uber) for a month, citing several violations. Uber appealed for a motion for reconsideration but was junked by the regulatory board.

Hontiveros, however, also challenged Uber to follow LTFRB regulations for their clients' welfare. "It does not bid well for the public if Uber continues to defy LTFRB," the Akbayan Senator said.

30-Day Challenge for Commuters "Makikipagsapalaran sa EDSA ang mga commuters dahil ang suspensiyon ay inihain ng walang alternatibo para sa kanila," declared Hontiveros. "This blanket suspension is cruel to those who are left with no alternatives and left to be preyed upon by abusive taxi drivers. Yung LTFRB pinag-30 day challenge ang mga commuters," she added.

Although cognizant of the challenges in the public transport system and public transport groups, Hontiveros said that LTFRB must not remain deaf to the collective groan of the public upon the serving of the suspension. "A one-kilometer distance is being charged by abusive taxi drivers two hundred pesos, according to some reports. Yung iba, nakaka-ilang para ng taxi kasi 'pagarahe na' o 'wala sa ruta," reported the Senator during the meeting.

"Are you cracking down on abusive taxi drivers and colorum units as much as you are hell-bent on cracking down on Uber and TNVS providers?" the Senator asked the LTFRB.

Health Impact of Traffic Hontiveros, who also serves as Vice-Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Health, expressed alarm on the adverse effects of the worsening traffic condition in Metro Manila on health.

"Spending hours stuck in traffic carries a number of negative health consequences. The exposure to fumes can contribute to cancer, other respiratory ailments and even heart disease," she explained. "Stress also contributes to adverse mental and physical health," Hontiveros added.

She also reminded LTFRB to place its bias towards commuters' welfare. "There is a need to review this suspension," said Hontiveros.

"What consumer protection do commuters have from colorum units and abusive taxis?" she asked LTFRB officials. "Getting to work or school need not be a scene from the Hunger Games. Our people deserve better," concluded Hontiveros.

Source: Senate of the Philippines

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