By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Consumer advocacy group Laban Konsyumer, Inc. (LKI) has urged the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) to toughen up and suspend Transport Network Company (TNC) Grab for six months to allow other TNCs to establish their footing in the local market and end the Grab monopoly.
LKI President Victorio Mario Dimagiba in a statement said the 6-month suspension of Grab will give other smaller TNCs enough time to gain ground and encourage drivers to shift to other TNCs.
LKI issued this statement after PCC gave Grab some leeway to submit voluntary steps to improve its service on complaints of deteriorating service and higher fares after it acquired Uber’s southeast Asia operation.
Under the rules, the anti-trust body has 60 days to decide whether or not the commitments submitted by Grab indicate that such are responsive to PCC’s concerns on the merger.
PCC has already suspended its motu propio review of the acquisition by Grab Holdings, Inc. of the Southeast Asian business of Uber Technologies, Inc. following the submission of Grab’s commitment to improve its service.
“Why did PCC give Grab leeway to submit some voluntary steps to improve service,” asked Dimagiba, who also submitted an affidavit to PCC mergers and acquisitions office on his experience about Grab’s service after it became a monopoly.
LKI has also cautioned the impact on the viability of drivers and owners of transport network vehicle services (TNVS), who incurred loans to buy cars for this business.
“At the end of the supply chain hopefully the poor drivers and owners will not end as losers in the regulation. A lot of them are paying monthly amortization for maximum 5 years and the source of payment is income derived from being a TNVS driver and owner,” Dimagiba said, stressing that the least the Land Transport Franchising Regulatory Board should not do is for the industry to experience cancellation of mortgages.
“Consumers are offered choices and that choices should be reasonably accessed by them under an environment of fair competition,” said LKI.