Group questions LTFRB decision granting 100,000 TNVS slots to Grab

A group of digital advocates assailed on Wednesday, Feb. 8, the decision of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) granting 100,000 Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) slots to Grab Philippines.

Digital Pinoys national campaigner Ronald Gustilo said the LTFRB decision is an abuse of dominance and would only lead to monopoly.

The LTFRB earlier announced that it would allocate 100,000 slots to Grab in response to the investment pledge of the company that could generate 500,000 jobs during a meeting with President Marcos.

In a statement, LTFRB chairman Teofilo Guadiz said the plan is to expand the approval of more franchises in three months.

Should there still be a demand for more, he said new franchises will be given to other motor vehicles that are not connected with Grab especially in other cities outside Metro Manila like Bacolod, Iloilo, Cebu and Davao.

"The pledge and the franchise allotment reeks of abuse of dominance. The government should ensure that fair competition will be upheld, even in the allocation of franchises," said Gustilo.

Instead of giving the slots to only one company, Gustilo said the government should also assist other transport network companies that can fill the gap in demand.

He also questioned why the LTFRB is giving preferential treatment even though the regulatory body's decision on Grab's overpricing complaint is still pending.

"Why is LTFRB giving Grab special treatment when it is taking them too long to decide on complaints against the overpricing and surge pricing abuse? LTFRB should first decide on the pending complaints before handing out new franchises. It seems that they are tolerating this kind of practice," said Gustilo.

"The government should give equal support to all TNCs (Transportation Network Companies). This will encourage competition, which will be good for the economy and the passengers. Strong competition will help level the playing field and will lead to better services and affordable fare prices for passengers. LTFRB should not lean into one TNC only," he added.