Palace hopes LTFRB-Uber issue 'resolved as soon as possible'

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(File photo) Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella says the issue is about "striking a balance" between new technology and government regulation.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 15) — Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Palace is hoping for a swift resolution to the issues between transport authorities and transport network company (TNC) Uber.

"We do empathize with the traveling public," he said at an August 15 Palace briefing. "It affects everyone, including us at times. On the other hand, that's exactly why we wish that the LTFRB and Uber situation should be completed as soon as possible."

Abella's statement comes after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) issued an August 14 order that suspended Uber's operations for a month.

Abella said although TNCs provide a "positive and beneficial service," Grab "unduly challenged" the LTFRB's rules.

"The issue here is striking a balance between innovation and laws and regulations that Land Transportation and Franchising Board has to implement as part of its administrative function in regulating common carriers," he said.

Read: LTFRB suspends Uber for 1month

LTFRB Spokesperson Aileen Lizada told CNN Philippines' Newsroom on August 14 that Uber violated the agency's July 26 order for TNCs to stop accepting applications and to stop activating transport network vehicle services.

The order required Uber to make its app inoperable, meaning passengers cannot use the Uber platform to book vehicles, even those with certificates of public convenience or a provisional authority.

On August 15, Uber filed a motion for reconsideration at the LTFRB against the suspension order, while also reactivating its app.

Read: LTFRB: Uber drivers face apprehension following app's reactivation

However, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said until regulators end their deliberation on Uber's motion for reconsideration, the company cannot accept passengers.

Abella also said he has not heard any statement from President Rodrigo Duterte regarding the issue, including his thoughts on the taxi system in Metro Manila.

TNCs became popular as alternatives to taxis, especially as some taxi drivers overcharged or refused to take passengers. 

Duterte, when he was still mayor of Davao City, was tough on erring taxi drivers and threatened  to cancel the franchises of taxi operators if they are unable to manage their drivers.

Abella said the taxi system in the country's capital may also improve if local government do their part in enforcing transport laws.

"Davao City is after all under a local government and the effectivity of the local transport there was due to their firm stand, so I would suppose that a similar political will exercised here will give us more efficiency," he said.

CNN Philippines Senior Correspondent Ina Andolong contributed to this report.