MANILA – The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) will look into whether the playing field is level in the land transportation sector, particularly between taxi operators and the transport network vehicle service (TNVS) that run ride-hailing operations for Uber and Grab.
According to PCC chairman Arsenio Balicasan, part of their agency’s mandate is to determine if there is any abuse or unfair competition in any sector, especially after taxi operators said in recent hearings that they have been economically gouged by the vast popularity of TNVS which, however, were not subjected to stringent regulations like regular cabs.
Balisacan said, however, it is best to await the decision of LTFRB on the giving of franchises to TNVS in September before the PCC starts its own inquiry on whether anti-competition laws have been violated.
“We are commissioning an issues paper which basically look at the state of the industry particularly any competition issues in the industry, the whole chain in the industry to see whether there are competitive concerns and for us to understand where those competitive concerns are coming from,” Balisacan said.
“That issues paper will allow us to identify in what way we can come in and what areas of concern we can pursue.”
Balisacan said the taxis vs TNVS case is but one of several issues on competition in the transportation issue that will be reviewed by the PCC, which is concerned with helping all sectors grow. Transportation, he noted, is at the center of key infrastructure programs of the government.
The PCC will look into why transportation fares are higher in some areas; why some modes of transport are more progressive; and why the cost of ferrying products from one province to another is prohibitive.
If the taxi operators “have a competition concern, and believe that what they have is a case of say, abuse of dominance, and other form of other anti-competitive act of conduct or agreement, they can file a verified complaint to the PCC,” said Balisacan.
Atty. Bong Suntay, president of the Philippine National Taxi Operators Association, said they will consult with their members on this option of filing a case.
Balisacan has written the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to discuss several issues the regulator is handling, not just concerning the TNVS.