Transition point

Grab previously tried but withdraw from the pilot program participated by Angkas, Joy Ride, and MoveIt.

During the administration of former President Rodrigo R. Duterte, the clarion call was so effective because of its simplicity: “To make life comfortable for Filipinos.”

Despite its being plain, the call pierces through the essence of public service in the way that it should be rendered.

It is incumbent on the current administration to build on the gains of the previous administration by keeping its focus on what benefits ordinary Filipinos and businesses, to keep the playing field level.

One of the thrusts that bore fruit during Mr. Duterte’s watch was the extension of the lifeline rate for poor households or Republic Act 11552 which was meant to tide over marginal families amid ever-rising electricity bills.

Prolonging the subsidy needed an amendment of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act that became a key pursuit of the previous regime.

On 28 October 2022, the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the law were released to put the law into effect, adding 50 years more to the subsidy program.

The program is now hailed as the best-designed lifeline rate worldwide since the beneficiaries are well-targeted, according to Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla.

The implementation is another example of governance under Mr. Duterte which is the whole of government approach.

The implementation of the IRR will be through the coordination of the Energy Regulatory Commission, the Department of Energy, and the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in consultation with the Philippines Statistics Authority and other public and private stakeholders.

ERC records showed that for the first semester, the lifeline program provided an average monthly subsidy of P541 million to almost 6 million marginalized electricity users.

While those in the energy sector get a back pat, other agencies needed to catch up on maintaining an equitable environment.

For instance, transport network vehicle service firms are questioning the absence of a law that should have been the product of the pilot program for ride-hailing services that the pandemic upended.
They said changes in the TNVS sector should be allowed only after the Department of Transportation reconvenes the multisectoral technical working group to work for the immediate enactment of a law and only then to open the market or allow radical shifts in the business.

Referred to as a crucial development in the sector was the recent deal between MoveIt and Grab that effectively gave the dominant ride-hailing firm a shortcut to the motorcycle taxi service through MoveIt.

The Grab camp said that the “transaction between two private companies” was legitimate and should be left alone by the government.

Grab Philippines recently secured regulatory approval to purchase MoveIt, which became a subsidiary.

TNVS firms, however, said since there is a TWG created to regulate the activities under a pilot program, a formal consultation should have been made on the transaction.

Grab previously tried but withdraw from the pilot program participated by Angkas, Joy Ride and MoveIt participated.

Grab then sought a partnership with MoveIt which the TWG led by the DoTr then under Secretary Art Tugade ordered suspended.

The TWG said the tie-up should be the subject of further study. The partnership would have allowed the services of MoveIt to be booked via the Grab App.

In December 2021, the TWG stated that the only way for Grab to enter the motorcycle taxi business was after a TNVS law has been passed.

Transport groups now said the merger of Grab and MoveIt was a circumvention of the pilot program’s rules intended to aid legislation.

Domination or monopoly of a business sector was prevented in the previous regime since it ultimately punishes commuters.
Government should intervene when consumer welfare is threatened.

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