The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) ordered Grab and Uber on Saturday to continue operating their mobile phone applications separately until the commission finishes its review of the ride-hailing services’ merger.
“The PCC believes that Uber is capable of operating its ride-hailing app in the country, despite its claims that it has already exited the Southeast Asia market,” PCC Chairman Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.
Grab earlier announced it was acquiring Uber’s Southeast Asia operations in a bid to drive the former’s business towards becoming the top online-to-offline mobile platform in Southeast Asia.
Uber was supposed to shut down its app on April 8 as Grab acquires its operations in the Philippines.
Balisacan noted that with the merger, Uber is not truly exiting the Philippine market and would become a part-owner of Grab.
“This virtual monopolization of the market by Grab can harm the riding public,” he added.
The decision also halts Grab’s move to acquire Uber’s operations until the antitrust watchdog finishes the review.
Both Grab and Uber have previously expressed opposition to the PCC’s recommendation to continue operating their apps separately.