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Uber points to LTFRB order for its failure to meet PCC condition

Uber Philippines has blamed its failure to comply with one of the conditions of an ongoing review by the Philippine Competition Commission to a stop order issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

The review was triggered by the announcement by Grab of its regional takeover of Uber’s business here in Southeast Asia, a move which raised serious consumer concerns in the Philippines.

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PCC reviewed the deal between the two firms, asking the stakeholders to delay the acquisition in the meantime.

The interim measures were set to keep the findings of an ongoing PCC review accurate. One of the conditions was for Grab and Uber to continue working independently and separately until the the review is finished.

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Scheduled to end its services on April 8, Uber agreed to extend the availability of its app to April 15 given the ongoing PCC review. In the Philippines, Grab said it shouldered the costs of Uber’s one week extension.

However, following the release of PCC’s interim measures, the LTFRB slapped Uber with a cease and desist order, requiring the firm to stop its operations on April 15.

Commissioner Stella Alabastro Quimbo said on Wednesday that Uber and Grab Philippines recently submitted reports that explained both their compliance and non-compliance with the antitrust body’s conditions.

“We’re still studying the documents that they provided. Of course, in the topic of penalties, you have to afford the parties due process. We’re still studying what the next steps may be, which could include a hearing,” she said in a phone interview.

It would seem that Uber is in a tough spot, wherein following one regulator might come at the expense of disobeying the other.

However, according to lawyer Anthony Abad, one of the proponents of the Philippine Competition Act since its early days in 1993, this does not necessarily have to end in a deadlock.

“If they [Uber] want to, they certainly can. They can appeal but whether LTFRB would agree to the appeal is another question,” Abad previously said.

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When asked if such an appeal would be considered, LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada deferred from giving a categorical answer. Instead, she said in a text message that this would require a “collegial decision.”

But apart from LTFRB’s consideration, the prospects of an extension of Uber’s operations still seem dim.

Miguel Aguila, legal counsel for Grab Philippines, said the company would no longer shoulder the cost of another extension of the Uber app.

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TAGS: LTFRB, Philippine Competition Commission, Uber Philippines
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