Bothered by online backlash? DOTr asks if Grab, Uber hired PR firm, trolls
A Department of Transportation official seemed bothered by the online backlash against the agency and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board over the issue with transport network companies (TNCs) Grab and Uber.
DOTr Assistant Secretary for commuter affairs Elvira Medina raised the issue on Thursday, August 3, in a Senate public services committee hearing.
“For the past weeks, the LTFRB had been bashed, they had been maligned. But my question is did any of the two, or any of these TNCs hire agencies using minions and all the other to bash the LTFRB?” Medina asked.
However, she was not given the chance to continue her questioning, as Senate committee chair Grace Poe called her out. Poe said it is not wrong for either parties to hire public relations companies in a free market.
“Ma’am I think we’re going off topic. I understand what you’re saying. Madaming trolls. Madaming fake news. (There are a lot of trolls. There's a lot of fake news) That’s the free market. That’s the sad or happy reality. They will get their PR firm. No one’s stopping the LTFRB from getting their own advocates to speak out and that’s fine. No idea will last anyway if it’s untrue,” Poe said.
The senator pointed out there must be a bulk of Filipinos who “enjoy” the convenience of TNCs and TNVs.
“Obviously, there’s a following and there are people who are agreeing because they absolutely enjoy the service. Otherwise kung propaganda, sandali lang yan (if it's propaganda, it won't last). They can spend millions and it will not take off. For sure meron silang (they have) PR, lets just agree on that,” Poe said.
Poe, also the public information committee chair, said she would not even try to regulate it.
“No, I’m not going to regulate that. Pero yung fake news, pwede kayo maging liable diyan (but fake news, you can be held liable for that),” she said.
Grab and Uber, ride-hailing firms which provide an online platform for car owners and drivers to connect with passengers, has been at odds with the LTFRB as thousands of drivers operate without permits or with expired permits.
Several lawmakers have filed bills before Congress to define, classify, and regulate companies like Grab and Uber.
Uber has called on the LTFRB to stop imposing ancient policies on today’s technological innovations.
But taxi operators have denounced the seemingly undue advantage of Grab and Uber, saying taxis and TNCs are both engaged in the same business but the latter are not being regulated. – Rappler.com
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