Solon urges LTFRB to allow more players in ride-hailing services

MANILA A lawmaker at the House of Representatives on Tuesday urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to allow the entry of more ride-hailing services and promulgate sound fare-setting mechanisms to prevent monopoly.

Kabayan Rep. Ciriaco Calalang made the statement following the recent development that ride-sharing firm Grab has acquired Uber's Southeast Asia operations.

"Given the new development of the sale by Uber of its entire Southeast Asia business to Grab, the Philippines now suddenly finds itself with a ride-hailing service monopoly a situation that is not good for the riding public because of the lack of competition and competitive pricing," Calalang said.

"It may take some weeks or months for the effects of the Uber sale to Grab to cascade to the Philippines, but it will eventually happen," he added.

Calalang said the LTFRB should proactively encourage other transportation network companies (TNCs) to enter the Philippine market to serve more passengers and break the monopoly of Grab.

"LTFRB can do so by reducing red-tape inside the office, setting new regulations opening the TNC sector to new investors both local and foreign, and creating an environment ready for the influx of new TNCs," he said.

"Such proactive move shall benefit the riding public as healthy competition naturally breeds innovations, new technologies, higher standards, and lower prices," he added.

The party-list lawmaker noted that the riding public needs more choices and better price options by having two or three more TNCs that can address the "huge demand" not just in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao, but also in the highly urbanized cities of Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan.

He said the LTFRB could issue a new policy through a board resolution encouraging more TNCs to be accredited.

"If, after some reasonable time, the LTFRB is unable or unwilling to protect the riding public with these measures, then it may very soon be necessary for Congress to divest the LTFRB of its power to regulate TNCs," he said.

Calalang said Congress might opt to regulate the TNCs with its power to grant legislative franchises or transfer the regulatory authority of the LTFRB over TNCs to another government agency.

Source: Philippine News Agency

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