Grab PH-Uber slapped with fines anew

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Another penalty worth millions of pesos was imposed on Grab-Uber after alleged violations. (FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 17) — The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) announced that it will impose a P16-million penalty on ride-hailing apps Grab Philippines and Uber for violations including failing to maintain separate operations before their merger was approved.

PCC Commissioner Stella Quimbo said Uber halted operations on April 8 even after the PCC issued an order for it to continue its services while the anti-trust body reviews the merger transaction.

"Ang sinabi namin sa Uber na hindi pa siya pwedeng mag-exit ng market sa April. Sabi namin diyan na muna kayo, manatili kayo diyan at ito naman ay temporary lamang [habang] nirereview namin kayo," Quimbo told CNN Philippines' Balitaan.

[Translation:What we told Uber was they are not allowed to exit the market just yet. We told them to remain temporarily while we review their merger]

The PCC earlier cleared the merger between Grab and Uber, setting several conditions that would control price levels amid Grab operating as a "virtual monopolist."

"The PCC's commitment decision holds Grab to a standard as if Uber were present in the market," it said in August this year.

Quimbo added that they have detected ten counts of violations on two of the conditions set for their merger.

The parties were fined P4 million each for failing to keep their businesses separate as ordered. Grab was fined with an additional P8 million for failing to comply with price policies and incentives as set by the conditions. On the other hand, Uber was slapped with a P4 million fine for the same set of violations.

In response, Grab said it will review the anti-trust body's order before giving further comments.

"We are currently studying all our legal options with regard to the fine imposed by the Philippine Competition Commission," Leo Gonzales, Grab Public Affairs Head said.

READ: Anti-trust body clears Grab-Uber merger subject to service, price conditions

This is not the first time that Grab and Uber are being fined for alleged violations.

In July, transportation officials ordered the TNC to pay a P10-million penalty for allegedly overcharging its passengers. Meanwhile, the previous year, transport regulators slapped a 5 million peso-fine on Grab and Uber for accrediting new drivers while a suspension order was in effect.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) also suspended Grab's P2 peso-per-minute charge on rides - a fee that was not approved by the agency.

Grab merged with its competitor Uber on April 8. Uber agreed to the decision to "compete with real focus and weight in the core markets where we operate, while giving us valuable and growing equity stakes in a number of big and important markets where we don't."

READ: Uber to transition services over to Grab in April