Published: Saturday 07 April, 2018

Philippine Antitrust Body Orders UBER to Continue Operations Despite Merger

Don’t delete your UBER app yet! The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) ordered UBER and Grab to maintain separate operations after Sunday, April 8, despite an earlier announced merger that would take effect on Monday, April 9.

Uber Grab separate operations

Uber and Grab ordered to continue operating separately, ordered the PCC. An order similar to that issued by the Singapore government. (Uber and Grab Offices in Singapore by Edgar Su/Reuters)

The PCC said UBER has a capacity to continue operations in the Philippines and it should do so for the sake of the riding public. In the eyes of the PCC, a monopoly of the ride-sharing service in the Philippines by Grab can harm the riding public.

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“The PCC believes that Uber is capable of operating its ride-hailing app in the country, despite its claims that it has already exited the Southeast Asia market,” PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.

Grab and UBer were supposed to operate as one effective Monday, April 9. Uber had already advised its subscribers that its app would no longer work starting Monday. Grab has also started the migration of UBER drivers to its system. But now, with the PCC order, all of these are now on hold.

But can Uber still operate separately starting Monday? The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) does not think so. And it does not want it to.

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The LTFRB’s Aileen Lizada said it would be better for Uber to stop operations by Monday because it no longer has the funds and the manpower to do so.

“If there is a road crash and [a passenger] would like to file their complaint, who will respond if there is no one onboard? Their apps might be up but is the back system in place? Is the full support in place?” Lizada said.

The decision of the PCC is similar to that of the Singapore government which also ordered Uber and Grab to operate separately.