PCC: No automatic release from Grab commitments

Published January 30, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) yesterday said that even if the on-demand platform-based motorcycle taxis are said to be effectively competing or substitutable to the four-wheel ride-hailing app, the dominant transport network company Grab will not be automatically released from its voluntary commitment (VCs).

“It is not automatic,” PCC Commissioner Johannes Bernabe emphasized this told reporters covering the 2020 Manila Forum on Competition as Rep. Stella Quimbo, also a former PCC Commissioner, said that on-demand and platform-based motorcycle taxis are effectively competing with Grab.

Bernabe explained that first Grab has to make first a case that indeed Angkas or other on-demand motorcycle taxis are substitutable.

Second, that the substitute has already acquired a certain percentage of the market.

To recall, in 2018, Grab submitted VCs to improve service quality, pricing, and fare transparency to get a conditional clearance from the antitrust watchdog of its acquisition of then competitor Uber.

But more than a year since making such commitments, the ride-hailing firm has been slapped with millions of pesos in fines for violating its own VCs. Following Quimbo’s statement, Grab in a statement has sought the “PCC to review the basis for defining the competitive market in which the ride-hailing services operate.”

“I think it requires more comprehensive study and analysis including surveys on the degree if at all the substitutable vis-a-vis where Grab operates,” he said.
Bernabe stressed that PCC already disagreed in the Uber-Grab merger where Grab asked the anti-trust body to include the four wheel taxis and other forms of public transport like jeepneys, motorcycles and pedicabs as part of the relevant market and therefore its competitors.

“How can you release them from their voluntary commitments if in the future Grab Bike becomes legal and resumes their Grab Bike and Grab Car but they collectively control 80 percent of the market,” asked Bernabe.

Grab has also asked PCC to broaden the same to rightfully include other denominations and modes of transportation, be it on-demand, street hail, or by other means.

“That is something we do not agree with in terms of having such as overly broad definition,” he said.