AS UBER exits the Philippines Monday, April 16, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) says it has given the ride-sharing service provider and its rival Grab until Tuesday, April 17, to explain their failure to continue providing services independently pending review of their merger.
Uber notified its users via email Sunday that the Uber app will no longer be available in the Philippines effective April 16. Users were advised to download the Grab app and register with Grab in order to book rides.
In a statement, the antitrust commission raised concern about the Grab-Uber merger, saying it "will mean gobbling up 93% of the ride-hailing market."
"The accreditation of new TNCs (transportation network company) is a welcome development to allow passengers to have more choices. We note, however, that the incoming TNCs are left with only 7% share in the market," the commission stated.
The PCC said Uber's shutdown of its app will not derail the motu propio review of the merger. Rather, the commission said it will expedite the review to protect the passengers "from the perils of monopoly."
"When a big player buys out its competitor, there will be many economic and legal factors that need to be scrutinized. PCC intends to expedite the completion of the review ahead of the allowed timeframe given how it is imbued with public interest," it stated.
The commission added that the review will take into consideration the fact that Grab will have the advantage of a bigger customer base following its merger with Uber, an advantage that a new TNC does not have.
The commission issued on April 6 an order requiring Grab and Uber to comply with seven interim measures designed “to protect competition in a looming monopoly and ensure the welfare of the riding public and the drivers” while the transaction is under review.
Among others, Uber was ordered to continue providing ride-sharing services until the motu propio review of its merger with Grab is completed.
Grab Holdings Inc. and MyTaxi.PH Inc. are acquiring the assets of Uber B.V. and Uber Systems Inc. in the Philippines as well as in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
Representatives of Grab and Uber met with the antitrust commission on April 2, and claimed that their transaction is not covered by the compulsory notification requirements under Section 17 of the Philippine Competition Act. (Marites Villamor-Ilano/SunStar Philippines)