Leader of TNVS drivers' group: Uber at fault

MANILA, Philippines – It's Uber's fault.

That is the sentiment of TeamSpeed president Bobby Coronel after Uber was suspended by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Monday, August 14, for one month.

"Wrong move po talaga si Uber regarding this one, lumalabas talagang wala sila pakialam sa peer and driver partners nila, importante lang sa kanila ang kumita," Coronel said. (Uber really made the wrong move. It shows that they really don't care about their drivers and peers, they only want to earn.)

Coronel leads a group of some 4,200 drivers partnered with Grab and Uber. He started the viral petition asking the LTFRB to lift its suspension order against Grab and Uber, and its moratorium in processing transport network vehicle service (TNVS) applications.

Uber's fault, as stated by the LTFRB, was it continued to accredit drivers despite the regulatory board repeatedly ordering all transport network companies (TNCs) to halt accreditation. (READ: What's the fuss about the Grab, Uber regulation issue?)

Uber defended itself by saying that it was only responding to "public demand." It also slammed the LTFRB for taking too long in processing thousands of franchise applications.

Then, Uber claimed, it was not properly briefed about the July 26 order, which it took to mean that accreditation of drivers was still allowed, but these new drivers cannot ply the roads.

The LTFRB rejected the ride-hailing company's explanation.

Because of Uber, Coronel said drivers and their families are bearing the brunt of the dilemma.

"Ngayon ganito ginawa nila, parang pinatay nila mga pamilya na umaasa sa marangal na trabaho na gusto lamang makapagbigay ng serbisyong publiko. Alam na ni Uber na may fault sila," he said.

(With what they did, it's like they killed the families of those who depend on the job, those who just want to serve the public. They know that they are at fault.)

Better to impose a fine?

While thousands of his fellow drivers will lose the source of their income, Coronel said it was only right that the LTFRB suspended Uber instead of imposing another fine.

"Ipinapakita lamang po ng government natin na may talim ang batas. I'm sure matututo na si Uber niyan... Of course, mas okay kung fine only lang but paano matututo si Uber if magbabayad lang lagi siya ng danyos sa pagiging pasaway?" Coronel said.

(The government just showed them the rule of law. I'm sure they will learn their lesson now. Of course, a fine would be less harsh, but how will they learn if they can just pay every time they violate the law?)

Uber earlier criticized the LTFRB for imposing archaic laws and failing to adapt to the changing times. But for Coronel, Uber should have slowed down and complied with the law from the start.

With some 66,000 Uber drivers prohibited from operating starting Tuesday, August 15, Coronel echoed the LTFRB's recommendation that the transport network giant provide financial aid.

"Nananawagan po kami sa pamunuan ng Uber na makipag-usap sa mga apektadong partners at panagutan nila ang gusot na ito. Nagpa-panic na mga kasamahan namin. 'Yan ba talaga matatawag na business partner? I don't think so," he added.

(We are calling on Uber to talk to their affected partners and give compensation for this mess. Our colleagues are panicking. Is that really what you call business partners? I don't think so.)

Should drivers be caught violating the ban, they can be fined as high as P120,000 and their cars may be impounded for at least 3 months. They can contest the apprehension. – Rappler.com

 

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.

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