PCC cautions against Angkas cap
MANILA, Philippines — Forcing Angkas to displace 17,000 riders will take away what was rightfully obtained by the company, a commissioner of the country’s antitrust body said, which stopped short of calling out the move as anticompetitive.
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) appealed to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to seriously consider other options instead, such as allowing riders to use more than one ride-hailing app.
PCC Commissioner Johannes Bernabe said this after the LTFRB has pushed for a 10,000 cap on drivers for each company in the motorcycle-hailing market, despite the obvious backlash on Angkas and its riders.
Volume of riders
The company said it currently has 27,000 riders in its system, more than 60 percent of whom would be forced to pick between new players JoyRide and MoveIt, without any assurance that they would even be accepted, let alone enjoy the same, if not better, incentives.
The LTFRB has defended its policy as a way to prevent Angkas from becoming a monopoly, it said.
But the situation is not necessarily as simple as that, according to Bernabe.
“Being big per se is not necessarily bad. It’s the abuse of that dominant position [that’s bad],” Bernabe told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
“With Angkas, its bigness was not like Grab which acquired its competitor and therefore became dominant and a monopoly. Here, [Angkas] grew out of its own efforts,” he said.
“In a sense, you are taking away what Angkas has worked hard on obtaining, which is a driver base,” he said.
Angkas, for its part, challenged transport regulators’ characterization of its operations as a “monopoly,” saying it was not fair for them to break apart the company to prop up the new players who will join the three-month extended pilot test to see if bikes are safe for public transport.
In an interview with the Inquirer, Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca rebuked the multiagency technical working group for willfully ignoring their input throughout the pilot run, and for railroading the decision to impose a cap of 39,000 riders split evenly within three companies.
“It’s like they’re imposing moving targets. They say it’s only a study, that it’s not a business, then they would suddenly introduce competition. This is not an issue of monopoly. Even the PCC, which monitors such things, recently said that regulators should let the drivers choose,” he added.
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