MANILA - Regulatory agencies are at loggerheads over the Grab-Uber deal, with transport regulators saying Uber should be allowed to shut down after Sunday April 8, even as competition regulators ordered Uber to continue operations while its merger with Grab
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Sunday questioned the Philippine Competition Commission's (PCC) order telling Grab and Uber to continue operating their mobile phone applications separately beyond April 8 until the commission finishes its review of the merger.
LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada told DZMM radio that Uber's accreditation has already expired and that the Board has not acted on the company's petition for renewal.
She added that Uber has only 2-3 employees left in the Philippines, which meant that while the Uber app may remain online, there would be no personnel to support it.
"Kung ang mga riders ay magbu-book ng Uber, and if Uber complies with the guidance of PCC, try to imagine the app of Uber being up, online, but there is no back system, there is no back support kasi wala na nga pong tao," Lizada said.
Lizada added that this posed a danger to the riding public.
"For example, may road crash, merong complaint, saan sila pupunta aside sa LTFRB? Who will we summon?"
The PCC earlier said it believed that Uber can keep operating its ride-hailing app in the country, despite its claims that it has already exited the Southeast Asian market.
The anti-trust watchdog has said it wants to be certain that Uber's exit from the ride-hailing market would not result in a monopoly for Grab.
But Lizada said this was not likely as the LTFRB was already processing the applications of other ride-sharing applications that want to enter the country
"I respect the mandate of PCC, but we are also considering the riding public," Lizada said.
She added that the franchises given by the LTFRB to operators of transport network vehicle services (TNVS) did not depend on any particular platform like Grab or Uber.
Lizada said this meant that these operators could transfer from one platform to another.
Meanwhile, Grab Philippines head Brian Cu said the orders of the PCC is confusing, particularly on the matter of extending its transition services agreement with Uber.
"Our transition services agreement with Uber expires tonight. If we will follow the PCC order, we cannot extend transition services agreement because that would be an action towards consummating the acquisition. If we extend, that would mean that Grab is really behind the Uber app," he explained.
Cu also clarified that Grab cannot absorb all of Uber's driver-partners because not all of them are included in the "master list" of the LTFRB.
"A lot of people think the app, like Grab or other ride-hailing services, is simply an app that connects drivers and passengers. But behind it, there's a significant amount of manpower," he added.