Uber vs LTFRB: the War of Words

San Francisco-based ridesharing app Uber has been a hit with Filipinos since it debuted in the country in 2014. A quick fast forward to 2017 – tens of thousands rely on its services for their daily commute. When the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered a month-long suspension on Uber’s operations last August 14, Philippine social media went into a frenzy.

This isn’t the first time the disruptive company and the regulating body have clashed. Uber’s first appearance was already a concern for the Philippine government because its innovative business model seemed to bypass many necessary regulations designed to protect the public. In 2015, the Department of Transportation and Communication (now simply the Department of Transportation) introduced the concept of Transportation Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) to cover companies with a similar business model.

On the surface, it was win-win. Alone in Southeast Asia at the time, the Philippines removed any confusion about Uber’s legal status, which enabled the company to continue operations. However, issues arose as soon as the ridesharing service was ordered to apply for LTFRB accreditation as a Transportation Network Company (TNC) or face penalties.

The relationship between Uber and the LTFRB has been rocky since then.

Their clashes have spilled ink in the papers and burst bytes online. For its supporters, Uber saved commuters from malfunctioning trains, overloaded PUVs, and rude taxi drivers by offering a reliable, comfortable, and clean service. LTFRB was the greedy, ever-inefficient bureaucratic monster that was trying to get their cut. On the government’s side, the LTFRB was taking a principled stand against a global outlaw that’s cheating the system.

As lawmakers involve themselves in the dispute, the ultimate winner will be decided by public opinion. Filipino Senators and Representatives will use their influence or pass laws that will resolve the issue and they take their direction from the people they’re supposed to represent. Currently, public sympathy is siding with Uber, especially on social networks, but the LTFRB is doing its best to flip the narrative.


Considering all the news and releases about issues on ride-sharing app, TNCs and transport regulation has been a hot topic. With this amount of publicity, telling the right story is key to communicating the relevance of ride-sharing app in the Philippine market as well as to concerned stakeholders and regulating bodies. Need help in telling your brand’s story on social media?

Contact our strategic planning team for a brainstorming session!