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Uber sorry for Philippines 'misunderstanding', but suspension stands

Uber sorry for Philippines 'misunderstanding', but suspension stands
From Reuters - August 16, 2017

MANILA (Reuters) - The Philippine transport regulator stood by its one-month suspension of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] on Wednesday,despite its apology for a "misunderstanding" in failing to heed a directive to stop accepting new driver applications.

Members of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) met an Uber executive and senators to discuss a suspension, announced on Monday, that critics say punishes Philippine consumers and drivers who depend on the service.

Uber appealed against the order on Tuesday, and restarted its operations after briefly suspending them. But the company said it would comply with the order after its appeal was denied.

The run-in with the Philippine regulator is the latest setback this year to Uber, a hugely successful startup with a valuation upwards of $60 billion.

The LTFRB's freeze has not been a popular decision among Filipino commuters, many of whom regard Uber as more reliable and competitive than outdated public transport services. Uber recently said it has nearly 67,000 Philippine drivers on its books.

"If there was a misunderstanding on our part relative to the LTFRB's intention with their prior order, then that was our mistake," Uber regional executive Michael Brown told reporters.

"We are here to respect the regulator and in this case, if there was a misunderstanding, then I apologize."

The Philippines was the first Southeast Asian nation to regulate app-based car-hailing operations after it drew up rules in 2015.

The LTFRB last year suspended acceptance and processing of applications for all ride-sharing services, including Uber, to study further how to regulate the industry.

"Irresponsible" Challenge

Uber has said that it did accept new applications for drivers amid strong demand, but did not process them.

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