Lawyer: Move It-Grab PH deal above board

AMID strong opposition by various advocacy groups to an impending partnership between Grab Philippines and motorcycle ride-hailing firm Move It, the latter said the government should regulate the bike taxi industry to open the field to more industry players.

Atty. Ann Albana, Move It legal counsel, in a Congress public hearing, said government regulation will beef up competition and provide commuters with a more affordable and reliable mode of public transportation.

While motorcycle taxis have yet to be officially legalized as a form of public transportation, three firms — Angkas, JoyRide and Move It — have been accredited on a pilot run to aid in crafting laws allowing motorcycle taxis on the road.

Albana assured lawmakers that the partnership with Grab Philippines was above board and compliant with the rules of the Technical Working Group under the Department of Transportation.

Move It, she said, will still be under the supervision of the MC Taxi TWG, and it will continue to abide by MC Taxi Guidelines, especially on the safety and welfare of the consumers.

“We are happy to disclose that the acquisition complied with the law, and all approvals required for the acquisition have been obtained. It did not violate any requirement of the MC Taxi TWG,” she said.

However, retired Col. Isais Espino of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic, representing the DoTr, said the deal between Grab and Move It was not within the purview of the TWG.

Convened by DoTr, the TWG is mandated to oversee and monitor the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxi operations.

DoTr Secretary Jaime J. Bautista issued Department Order 2022-021 on 7 November reconstituting the TWG which is mandated to review and supplement guidelines and regulations as necessary and ensure proper and effective coordination among all concerned government agencies and stakeholders involved.

It shall also consolidate data and information from the pilot implementation that was reviewed and submitted to Congress.

Atty. Juan Antonio E. Arcilla, Division Chief of the Notification Division Mergers and Acquisitions Office of the Philippine Competition Commission, said he does not see anything wrong with Grab’s acquisition of Move It because it did not breach the P50-billion threshold required under the law for a review.

Arcilla said publicly available information suggests that the transaction was entered into by the parties when the P50-billion notification thresholds under Republic Act 11494 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act was in effect.

The PCC, however, said it may still launch a motu proprio review of the transaction if it finds reasonable grounds to believe that the deal will result in a substantial lessening of competition in the relevant markets.

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