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House investigation welcomed as Grab cases remain unresolved

Digital Pinoys

A network of digital advocates welcomed the recent move in the House of Representatives to investigate the inaction on complaints filed before regulatory agencies.

Digital Pinoys national campaigner Ronald Gustilo said that the house inquiry is warmly welcomed and very timely after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has failed to adhere to its self-imposed deadline to come up with a decision on the overcharging and abuse of surge-pricing mechanism allegations against Grab Philippines.

“The inquiry will bring to light as to why LTFRB has failed to issue a ruling on the complaints filed against Grab. It is appalling that up to now, they have failed to render their decision”

Rep. Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Partylist, Rep. France Castro of ACT Teachers and Raoul Manuel of Kabataan Partylist filed today House Resolution 860 which seeks to investigate the failure of some regulatory agencies to issue decisions against complaints and failure to enforce rulings.

It can be recalled that the LTFRB summoned Grab Philippines for charging P85 base fare for short trips, violating the LTFRB-issued fare matrix. The TNVS giant is also complained for abusing the surge price mechanism.

“LTFRB tried to gain brownie points with the commuters by self-imposing a deadline to render its decision against Grab by January 2023. They later moved it to February 2023. It’s already March. Why are they taking their time on this issue when Grab admitted to the imposition of P85 base fare, which is a violation of the fare matrix?”

Gustilo also said that an unresolved refund order against Grab has also been languishing in the Philippine Competition Commission for the past few years. In 2018, 2019 and 2020, the PCC ordered Grab to refund overcharged customers the amount of P24.45 million. The supposed deadline for Grab to complete the issuance of refunds was April 2022. Recently, the PCC said that Grab is yet to fulfil the refund order with 30% of the refund still unreleased.

“The former administration of PCC failed to impose its own order which creates the impression that it is okay to violate the rules and you can get away even if you get caught because the PCC will not life a finger. We are hoping that the new PCC administration will implement the refund order and collect all penalties imposed against Grab.”

Gustilo said that the impending investigation against the failure of regulatory agencies to resolve complaints and enforce decisions is a boon for commuters victimized by Grab and its anti-commuter activities.

“We see this investigation as an opportunity for commuters to finally force regulatory agencies to act on complaints filed against them. For the longest time, there have been complaints that were not acted upon, decisions and orders that were not enforced against Grab. It is high time that Congress took a look at it. We are thankful that Reps. Arlene Brosas, France Castro and Raoul Manuel saw the need for an investigation.”

Reference: Ronald Gustilo, Digital Pinoys National Campaigner, www.digitalpinoys.org