The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on Friday, January 24, officially threw its support behind the use of motorcycle (MC) taxis as a mode of public transportation and the adoption of a “multi-homing” policy to allow drivers to choose which platform to offer their services.
In a statement, the PCC said it supports the passage of Senate bills amending the Land Transportation and Traffic Code to allow two-wheeled motorcycle vehicles as a mode of public transport. The Senate bills, it said, are timely as it wides the choices for commuters and opens opportunities for businesses and innovators.
“We understand that the results of the Motorcycle Taxi Service Inter-Agency Technical Working Group’s (TWG) pilot study will be critical to the future of this new market involving MC taxis and online ride-hailing, especially in shaping regulations concerning safety, viability, and accreditation.
“We acknowledge the legitimacy and objectives of the study, and the need to on-board as wide a set of perspectives as possible. With this in mind, we encourage the TWG to consider the pro-competitive effects of multi-homing in its study,” it said.
The competition body said a multi-homing policy allows drivers the flexibility to offer their services in the same way that passengers can choose among different apps. Multi-homing, it added, also incentivizes platforms to continuously innovate and compete to keep both drivers and passengers safe and satisfied. Preventing multi-homing among drivers, it warned, may lead to inefficiencies that will ultimately be detrimental to the riding public.
“Whether in the experimental phase or once the law on MCs will be passed, competition must be recognized as an essential element in stakeholders’ operations that bear impact on the riding public,” it said.
“While we recognize that the pilot study is intended to be of limited duration and will end in March, any situation thereafter which allows or contemplates the continued operation of MC taxis and online ride-hailing should ensure fair, market-driven competition in the provision of MC taxi services,” it added.
The PCC said the study is a preview of a new market on the rise and presents an opportunity for government agencies to come together to craft an effective policy.
“Under a platform of unity, the PCC welcomes the TWG’s call for cooperation and will do its share by looking at the competition aspect of the guidelines to ensure competition and consumer welfare are protected.
“The PCC stands ready to offer advisory support to the TWG, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) in the formulation of policies that meet the dual objectives of promoting healthy market competition and protecting the welfare of the stakeholders in this important sector,” the agency added.