The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and the Philippine Competition Commission should make sure Grab Philippines paid its fines and refunded their riders without passing on their financial obligations to their drivers, an official said Monday.
Rep. Jericho Nograles said tens of thousands of Grab drivers were still paying for the amortization of their vehicles and were barely surviving because of Metro Manila’s horrendous traffic and Grab’s excessive profiteering.
“The drivers are the biggest victims of Grab’s abusive business practices,” Nograles said.
“Drivers work like slaves just to cope with the high commission being charged by Grab from them. They should not be the ones shouldering the fines imposed by the PCC.”
Nograles was the one who brought the issue of Grab’s alleged excessive overcharging of fares and other malpractices to the LTFRB and the PCC.
That prompted the LTFRB to slap Grab in July 2018 with a P10-million fine and order the ride-hailing firm to reimburse the excess fares that it had collected. This was appealed by Grab and the LTFRB decided to reduce its penalty by paying only the P10-million fine.
There has been no word since then if Grab had actually paid the P10-million fine.
LTFRB’s action was followed by another order issued by the PCC in January 2019 requiring Grab to pay P6.5 million in fines for its incorrect pricing data. Grab appealed and it was unclear if it had already paid the fine.
Last Monday, the PCC issued another order slapping Grab with an P18.4-million in direct fines and P5.05 million in refunds, or a total of P23.45 million, for allegedly overcharging its riders.
Nograles said the latest PCC decision affirmed his position that Grab had been overcharging not only its passengers but also its drivers.
Nograles said while Grab issued a statement that it would comply with the refund of P5.05 million to the riders, it remained unclear how and when it would make the refund. It was also unclear how Grab would get the money to pay its fines.
“I sincerely hope that Grab will not increase the commissions it collects from the drivers so they can pay their fines,” Nograles said.
“We thank the LTFRB and the PCC for being the watchdogs, but the fight is not over yet,” Nograles said.
“The LTFRB and the PCC should strictly monitor Grab’s compliance because there is a big possibility that it will pass on the burden to its drivers. We should not allow this to happen.”
Nograles said he would also ask the LTFRB and the PCC if the previous fines imposed on Grab had already been paid.
He also called on the LTFRB and the PCC to scrutinize Grab’s commission arrangement with its drivers. He said the ride-hailing company had been squeezing its drivers dry.
“Since the merger with Uber, the commissions to Grab have increased and remain unregulated. This commission scheme is also monopolistic and subject to abuse against the interest of the driver,” Nograles said.