Uber blows off Philippine regulators and defies ban

Uber is in open conflict with regulators again — this time in the Philippines.

On Monday, Philippine authorities ordered the ride-hailing company to stop operations for a month. That brought Uber’s service in the country to a halt early Tuesday — but only for a little while.

Uber was up and running again hours later after the company filed a motion for authorities to reconsider the suspension. “This means that Uber’s operations will continue until the motion is resolved,” it said in a statement.

The Philippines Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board disputed that, warning the company that it can’t accept customers until regulators have reviewed the motion.

Uber drivers caught giving rides during that time will face a fine of more than $2,300 and have their cars impounded for three months, the agency said, according to CNN Philippines.

It’s the latest headache for Uber, which has a reputation for bulldozing through regulations around the world. The company has been beset by an avalanche of challenges over the past year, culminating in the resignation of CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick in June.

Uber’s brief suspension in the Philippines on Tuesday prompted messages of frustration from many people on social media, who said Uber was better than other transportation options available in Manila, the country’s sprawling capital.

“Over the course of this morning, tens of thousands of riders were left stranded, causing needless inconvenience, while drivers were unable to access the earning opportunities they rely on,” Uber said.

The transportation agency said Uber should offer financial assistance to its drivers as an act of “good faith.” It blamed “the current predicament” on Uber’s “predatory actions.”

Uber ran into trouble in the Philippines for continuing to bring on new drivers after the agency suspended its accreditation process last summer, pending a review of the regulations.

Last month, Uber and local rival Grab were each fined and ordered to stop accepting and activating new drivers. The regulator said that while Grab respected the order, Uber continued to ignore it, resulting in the suspension.

Uber has said it continued to accept new applications but didn’t process them.

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