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Congress to probe deal between Grab and Move It, overpricing, riders’ income cuts

Joel Chua
(seated, middle) Congressman Joel Chua (3rd district, Manila) in a posterity shot with app riders after the press conference with (seated, from left) Digital Pinoys led by Campaigner Ronald Gustillo, Consumers’ Welfare and Protection headed by Atty. Ariel Inton, National Public Transport Coalition Ariel Lim and national chairman of Arangkada Riders’ Alliance national chair Rod Cruz. (JERRY S. TAN)

A MANILA Congressman has vowed to look into what he said was a ‘questionable and premature’ acquisition of Move It by Grab, to the detriment of the riders and the public in general, particularly those who avail of their services. Both operate via commercial mobile apps that provide everyday services like deliveries and mobility.

Congressman Joel Chua (3rd district) said that motu propio, an investigation will have to be done by Congress with the end in view of coming up with a law that would ensure the protection of riders and commuters alike.

It was learned that Chua’s action came after the Lawyers for Consumers’ Welfare and Protection headed by Atty. Ariel Inton and the Digital Pinoys led by Campaigner Ronald Gustillo wrote his office about the said issues. Chua is a member of the committee on transportation in Congress.

During a press conference jointly held by Chua, Inton, Gustillo, national convenor and chair of National Public Transport Coalition Ariel Lim and national chairman of Arangkada Riders’ Alliance national chair Rod Cruz, the Congressman said that the concerns raised by various groups in their letters to him were alarming, particularly the alleged systematic cutting of bikers’ income and overpricing of customers being done by Grab, among others.

In stressing that the acquisition of Move It by Grab is premature, Chua explained that the said app riding service program is still in the pilot testing stage. The technical working group (TWG), he said, had given the opportunity to participate in the pilot tests to JoyRide, Move It and Angkas.

In December, Chua said the TWG, which had given the authority to Move It to participate in the pilot tests, told Move It to permanently stop the acquisition deal and yet, went on with it.

“Bakit lumabag ang Move It and pursued, samantalang ang ibinibigay sa kanila ay hindi karapatan kundi pribilehiyo lamang na kanilang nilabag. It would seen that the intention of Grab is is to go into the pilot testing na di sa kanila naibibigay pa… the TWG which gave them to authority to participate in the pilot testing is the one telling them to stop, so there is a violation or non-compliance with the directive,” the Congressman noted.

He added: “Kaya daw itinuloy dahil pumayag ang Kongreso, DOTR, LTFRB but records show that nung first week of August nagkaroon ng acquisition when Congress convened only in July when President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. delivered his SONA.

“Congress was still in the process of reorganizing committees and there were no chairmanships yet at that time. The DOTR and LTFRB, on the other hand, were still in a period of transition. There is a problem.. something is wrong and we cannot close our eyes dahil buhay ng tao nakasalalay dito,” Chua stressed.

He also noted that based on the complaint he received, the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) had imposed a P65 million penalty on Grab for overcharging and for it to refund its passengers some P24.5 million in 2019.

According to Chua, only P6 million had been refunded so far and this, he said, also needs to be investigated.

“Nakakatakot, kasi kung duon sa simpleng patakaran eh lumalabag sila, ngayon, buhay na ng tao ang nakasalalay dito. Sa motorcycle taxi, di na pagkain kungdi tao na ang isinasakay dito kaya dapat maproteskyunan natin mga pasahero at gayundin ang karapatan ng mga driver,” Chua said.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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