It looks that this week the consumers are bolted with bad news that affect their shallow pockets.
First , the one peso or more increases in the price of socially sensitive products like diesel , gasoline and kerosene. ( in the past I remember that oil companies hold off price increases during the week where consumers do a lot of traveling. Hopefully after Easter weekend we shall get good news).
Second , the BSP released the first quarter data on consumer confidence that saw a huge drop just 3 months after the Train law was passed .
Third, a private firm released their survey that show the citizens negative sentiment on the impact of the Train Law.
FOURTH, the announcement of Uber selling our their Asean business to Grab ( as I write this email I have received a second email from Uber informing me to transact with Grab asap .) A bit Sneaky doing all these announcements on the very week of passion , recollection, repentance. This isn?t an Easter gift.
Consumers including me have love to ride the tnvs like uber and grab . Grab have added a delivery services point to point and that helped me a lot
deliver important pleadings and documents in the course of our advocacy. I can experience the competition between uber and grab in terms of price and arrival time ( hmmm one thing, the drivers are hooked to their waze that I need to divert the route as often as I have to ) . Uber is lower in rate than grab for any of the options. In both tnvs I have keyed in my senior citizen discount and enjoys 20 percent off their published rate . And you can use your reward points earned for Certain products . seldom do I encounter cancellation by uber or grab but it does happen now and then . In most cases I do the cancellation when one arrives earlier that the other. Consumers use tnvs to reach the nearest MRT or LRT or point to point bus terminals and take the bus and enjoy the yellow lane in Edsa . Faster and sometimes I feel a bit teasy that I can see to my left or right the turtle moving cars in Edsa and whisper to my angel that ? look am not one among them today ?. We save also on parking fees and you are drop off to your point of destination. . Some drivers though have different preferences in their Radio programs and music. I have not experience a breakdown or a bump incident in those days i use any one of them . OTHER consumers may have their own experiences in riding uber or grab .
Now that uber announced the Sale there are many questions for the regulators to investigate and take appropriate action.
1. Why sell to a fellow competitor in the country knowing very well that uber and grab are the most like tnvs in the country. There are many mega rich businesses in the country that can run uber s technology. That?s uber assets . Uber do not own the vehicles but the operators, and the drivers whom I shall call Micro entrepreneurs. UBER have past encounter with the LTFRB. They Paid a hefty 160 million pesos fines . They opposed the cap on running tnvs . Their assets are in technology and software .
2. How do you put value in uber assets ? I read that the PCC invokes the threshold of mergers and acquisitions as to whether the Sale is subject to mandatory review or not . But Uber sold its Asean business to Grab . And our competition law Republic Act in 10667 in section 3 would authorize the PCC to include ubers assets sold outside the philippines in the application of the law. I believe the current threshold will be met to allow the PCC to review the deal .
3. Beyond the merger and acquisition rules , there are so much on the plate that PCC and LTFRB can take moto propio at the proper time. Will this sale breeds anti competitive practices prohibited in section 12 , 14 and 26 of the competition law. there are no thresholds to perform this function. These are the powerful provisions of the law. The impact to consumer welfare is at stake here . The PCC and the LTFRB had wide range of of powers to subpoena documents, profits , income, stop the Sale and impose fines among others.
4. The fear that consumers of grab face higher rates and inefficient service are echoed by regulators in the asean region . Their respective transport ministries and competition agencies are setting a mandatory review of the Sale. This sale by uber to Grab may trigger regional exchanges of investigation.
5. CONGRESS should act now in various bills affecting the tnvs industry . In the House are 4085, 4669, 4891 6009, HR 403, 573, 1140 1151. In the Senate are 340, 375, 696, 1001, 1501 , 1502 and SR 262 430 431 433 434 436 446 .
LKI calls this sale and investigation all for consumer welfare . We need a proactive regulators . Uber moves so fast that we cannot yet smell or see the pudding on the cake .
Blessed Easter to all.Laban Konsyumer Inc.
ATTY VIC DIMAGIBA
Sent from my Samsung Galaxy smartphone.
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