Uber back running in the Philippines after it paid $9.6M in penalties

Uber has had a one-month suspension of its service in the Philippines lifted early after it agreed to pay nearly $10 million in fines and aid for drivers affected by the service being suspended, Reuters reports.

Earlier this month the ride-hailing giant suspended its services in the country on order of national regulator, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The suspension was ordered after Uber apparently flouted a temporary ban on adding new drivers while the regulator worked to catch up with a backlog of applications for drivers seeking ride-hailing permits — though Uber has claimed it had not been adding new drivers during this period (though it had lodged an appeal against the suspension).

Uber paid a penalty of 190 million Philippine pesos ($3.72M) to get the suspension lifted, according to Reuters, and another 300 million pesos ($5.87M) in financial assistance to drivers.

The 190M Philippine pesos penalty payment is 20x what Uber had earlier offered to pay to try to settle the dispute.

“It cost Uber close to half a billion pesos for defying government regulations, putting at risk tens of thousands of Uber (drivers) as well as the riding public,” Aileen Lizada, a board member at the transport regulator, is quoted telling reporters.

In a statement confirming the lifting of the ban, an Uber spokesperson told us: “We have complied with the requirements outlined by the LTFRB, and are grateful for the opportunity to serve the Philippines again. Our operations have resumed at 5pm.”