MANILA – The country’s anti-trust watchdog on Monday maintained it has jurisdiction over the Grab-Uber deal as transport regulators continued to cast doubt over whether Uber can be compelled to continue its operations in the Philippines.
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) said Grab’s acquisition of Uber’s business requires it to execute a contract that will be valid in the Philippines, which means that the PCC has jurisdiction over the transaction.
“Can we compel Uber? Oo kasi ang ating batas ay isinasaad na kapag ikaw ay makikipagsanib o magkakaroon ng merger o acquisition, kailangan obserbahan mo muna yung mga nasasaad sa batas,’” PCC Commissioner Johannes Bernabe said in an interview over DZMM radio.
(Yes because our law says that if you are entering into a merger or acquisition deal, you need to observe the regulations under the law.)
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier questioned the PCC’s order for Uber to continue operating in the country, saying the Grab-Uber deal was done outside the country.
LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada earlier said Uber has already exited the country last month and has only 2-3 employees left. She also said Uber's accreditation has already expired.
Bernabe however maintained that Uber did not really exit the country as it was taking a 27 percent stake in Grab, while Uber’s CEO would also have a seat in Grab’s board.
“If Uber decided to leave market, that's a different matter. But this is a merger,” Bernabe said.
He also said Uber and Grab should have been aware of the legal issues surrounding their deal.
It would take about a month for the PCC to review the Grab-Uber deal, according to Bernabe.