Advocacy group CitizenWatch Philippines has welcomed Grab Philippines’ acquisition of motorcycle taxi firm MoveIt, saying it promotes competition for the benefit of the riding public.
“CitizenWatch Philippines believes that competition ultimately redounds to the benefit of the consumers. Players in any given field must not shun competition but instead welcome it as an opportunity to improve themselves and strive to work better for the public,” the group’s convenor Atty. Time Abejo said in a statement.
The statement was in response to calls for authorities to review the investment agreement between the two ride-hailing firms, under which MoveIt will not be merged with Grab and will continue to operate on its own platform.
Abejo sees the Grab-MoveIt deal as a move to “help alleviate the public transportation crisis besetting commuters in the country.”
“The investment deal between Grab and MoveIt was conceived as a response to the difficulties encountered by the riding public especially as the economy reopens and schools resume face-to-face classes,” Abejo said.
He added: “The current state of public transportation has been having difficulty coping with the influx of daily commuters, leaving them literally and figuratively stranded as they make their way back into the new normal. Other options are simply too expensive for the average income earner or allowance receiver to afford.”
According to Abejo, Grab’s investment in MoveIt is a testament to the tech giant’s confidence in the resurgence of Philippine economy.
He said Grab intends to use its resources to level up MoveIt’s services “in order to achieve a more vibrant and competitive moto-taxi market which will ultimately benefit the riding public.”
There are, however, several measures pending in Congress that seek to legitimize and regulate the motorcycle ride-hailing services in the country.
The motorcycle taxis are currently operating under a pilot program.
Abejo, meantime, warned that “rejecting an agreement already signed sends a negative message to investors, local and foreign alike, whom we are trying to engage to jumpstart our economic recovery and development.”
“The message that should be sent, instead, is that we are open to anything that would drive us to be more efficient and customer-centric services, and that agreements in this country are held sacrosanct, and thus honored. Our investment environment must be stable, not unpredictable,” he pointed out.
“As advocates, we should encourage developmental actions that benefit the people’s interests. Public transportation is imbued with a sense of public interest. We have to ensure that workers and students would be able to return to a semblance of normalcy without being weighed down by mobility challenges,” Abejo added.
CitizenWatch Philippines is an independent network that advocates for the interests of citizen rights, especially against powerful interest.