LTFRB on PCC order: Who will operate Uber beyond April 8?

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, April 8) — The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) aired its concern on who will operate ride-hailing service provider Uber beyond April 8.

The Philippine Competition Commission on April 6 ordered Uber to continue operating pending its review of the Grab acquisition deal.

"Ang concern namin for the riding public, paano na ho sila? Kung magbo-book, may tao ba?" LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada said Sunday.

[Translation: Our concern for the riding public is how about them? Are there people manning the app should passengers book?]

READ: PCC: Uber can't exit PH market without complying with law

The PCC on Saturday said Uber cannot cease its operations in the country without complying with the law first.

Under the law, the PCC can "prohibit mergers and acquisitions that will substantially prevent, restrict, or lessen competition in the relevant market."

Failure to comply with the order will result in penalties of P50,000 up to P2 million for each violation. Parties, however, are given a chance to explain the non-compliance.

Lizada said representatives from Uber disclosed in a public hearing on Thursday that the company no longer has funds to continue their operations and enough number of employees to man their Manila office.

"'Yung aming tanong sa LTFRB, kung may mga road crashes, kung may complaints, sino ang sasagot sa side ng Uber? Sino rin ang aming isu-summon if ever meron kaming hearing?" she said.

[Translation: The question LTFRB poses is, if there are road crashes or complaints, who would be accountable on Uber's side? Who would we summon if there would be a hearing?]

CNN Philippines has reached out to Uber but it has yet to give its comment.

READ: Uber ordered to continue operations beyond April 8

The PCC has opened a review on the deal, after seeing a "virtual  monopoly" forming after Grab's acquisition of Uber.

The competition watchdog also issued a set of interim measures, ordering Uber to continue operations beyond ?April 8?, the day it was initially scheduled to turn over its  services to Grab.

READ: Philippine Competition Commission reviews Grab-Uber merger

The PCC ordered both ride-sharing companies to maintain the independence of business operations while the government is conducting its review.

Grab to operate Uber app until April 15

In a statement, Grab Country Head Brian Cu said the company will operate and bear the costs of the Uber app until April 15, giving drivers and consumers time to adjust with the transfer of service.

"Our understanding from the PCC is that this interim arrangement, which was fully explained to the PCC, is not a breach of its order," Cu said.

He said, however, the order increases the transaction costs of the parties, "contrary to the spirit and rationale of interim measures."

Cu clarified while the Uber app will remain operational, it has "limited functionality and little to no support."

He added representatives from Grab and Uber wish to further discuss their concerns with the PCC.

More transport network companies coming in

With the PCC's concerns over the Grab-Uber deal resulting in a monopoly, the LTFRB said at least four Transport Network Companies (TNCs) are coming in.

Lizada, however, said they have yet to complete their application.

"On the part of the LTFRB, there are TNCs waiting to be accredited and we just need their compliance which is very minimal submission of business permits, submission of audited financial statements," she said.

LTFRB chair Martin Delgra said it would be a swift accreditation process when all requirements are completed.

"Kung ma-submit nila ngayon, next week lalabas na certificate of accreditation [If they can submit now, they will have the Certificate of Accreditation by next week]. We're just waiting for the completion of the documentation we need from them," Delgra said.

The transport regulators said drivers can easily register under new TNCs because they can use existing provisional authority documents.

Grab, meanwhile, is open to the entry of new competitors.

"Grab welcomes possible new players into the market and applauds LTFRB's constant push for more players to keep the market competitive whilst emphasizing on safety as a core tenet of ride hailing in the Philippines," Cu said.

CNN Philippines' Correspondent Triciah Terada contributed to this report.