Grab owes gov’t P15 B in fines for overcharging 3M riders

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) should take its cue from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and slap a P15-Billion fine on Grab Philippine for overcharging its 3 Million riders, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles today said.

According to Nograles, the declaration of Grab Philippines that it will comply with the order of the PCC which slapped the ride-hailing company with P23.45 Million in fines is a direct admission that it has been charging excessive fares from 3 Million riders from February to May of 2019.

This should translate to a total of P15 Billion in fines because under the the Joint Administrative Order 2014-01 of the Department of Transportation, each offense committed merits a fine of P5,000.

“Grab made a direct admission of 3 million offenses and under the JAO 2014-01, each offense merits a fine of P5,000. Therefore, Grab should be liable for P15B worth of fines,” Nograles said.

“If Grab will not be charged as such, then it can be argued that Grab is being favored, tantamount to Graft.

The jeepney driver, tricycle, taxi they pay the P5,000 fine but Grab won’t?” Nograles asked.

Nograles said the P15 Billion fine which the government can collect from Grab can already cover expenses for the Southeast Asian Games. Nograles also stressed that the LTFRB should make it a point that Grab would solely shoulder the fines because the ride-hailing company is already making a killing not only from its riders but also from its drivers.

“The fines and penalties meted to Grab is due to their unilateral imposition of unauthorized fares on the rider.

There should also be regulation on Grab’s capability of unilaterally dismissing, controlling, and collecting charges from drivers,” Nograles said.

Nograles noted that the PCC decision to slap Grab with P23.45 Million in fines ( P18.4 Million in direct fines and P5.05 Million in refund for its riders) was not contested and Grab even announced that it would comply with the ruling of the anti-trust body.

Nograles said that Grab’s action should serve as a “smoking gun” for the LTFRB to impose lawfully mandated penalties for overcharging its riders and deny all appeals related to previous fines imposed by the LTFRB. Last July 2018, the LTFRB slapped Grab with a P10 Million fine and also ordered the ride-hailing company to reimburse the excess fares that they have been collecting.

This was appealed by Grab and the LTFRB decided to reduce its penalty by paying only the P10 Million fine but not the refund. There has been no word since then if Grab has actually paid the P10 Million fine, as it has been pending resolution from the Secretary of Transport.

“With this smoking gun, Secretary Tugade can already see clearly that Grab is in the habit of overcharging its riders,” Nograles said. LTFRB’s action was followed by the another order issued by the PCC on January, 2019 requiring Grab to pay P6.5 Million in fines for incorrect pricing data.

” This has been the second time that PCC has fined Grab for overcharging.

On the other hand, the last time that the LTFRB imposed fines on Grab was last year and we have yet to hear anything if the TNVS company has actually paid a single cent.

Does this mean PPC is more efficient in exercising its mandate than the LTFRB?” Nograles said.

“Grab’s acceptance of the PCC ruling should already serve as a basis for the LTFRB to slap fines against Grab for overcharging because after all, fare regulation is its primary mandate,” Nograles added.