Better for Uber to stop operations on April 8 – LTFRB

SHUTDOWN OR CONTINUED OPERATIONS? The Philippine Competition Commission has ordered Uber and Grab to continue operating separately pending a review of their merger.  Image from Shutterstock

SHUTDOWN OR CONTINUED OPERATIONS? The Philippine Competition Commission has ordered Uber and Grab to continue operating separately pending a review of their merger.

Image from Shutterstock

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) would rather have Uber close shop, as scheduled, than have it operate without enough manpower on its backend.

LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said that previous discussions with the transport network companies revealed that Uber no longer has the funds and manpower to continue operations beyond Sunday, April 8, the set date of its transition to Grab.

"We would require Uber to close down because how can we assure the riding public of their safety and their convenience if it is only in compliance with the order that their apps be up but without a support system?" Lizada said in a voice message sent to reporters Saturday night, April 7.

She made the statement after the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) released an order that temporarily stops Grab's acquisition of Uber. This means that the Uber app should still be up and running beyond Sunday, or until the PCC completes an "in-depth review" of the deal.

"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.

On Friday, April 6, the PCC issued the order directing Uber and Grab to continue their respective operations until it completes its review of the deal. The order also provides interim measures that seek to protect the riding public and drivers of Grab and Uber during the review process. 

Uber and Grab face a P50,000- to P2-million penalty per violation for failure or refusal to comply with the PCC's order, but this will not be immediately executory as they will be given a chance to explain their side.

Uber announced on March 26 that it sold its operations in Southeast Asia to Grab. In turn, Uber will receive a 27.5% stake in the business. (READ: Philippines' privacy watchdog summons Grab after deal with Uber

Drivers have started to migrate to Grab Philippines after the acquisition was announced, but country head Brian Cu said on Friday, April 6, that not all 20,000 drivers would have completed the onboarding process by Sunday because of the sheer volume.

Many Uber patrons slammed the deal between the two companies, arguing that Grab has "monopolized" the ride-hailing service.

Meanwhile in Singapore, the government competition watchdog also ordered Uber to extend its operations until April 15. –  Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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