Advocacy group CitizenWatch Philippines has welcomed Grab Philippines’ acquisition of motorcycle taxi company MoveIt, saying it promotes competition for the benefit of the public.

“CitizenWatch Philippines believes that competition ultimately benefits consumers. Players in any given field should not shy away from competition, but rather welcome it as an opportunity to improve and strive to work better for the public,” said group leader Atty. Time Abejo said in a statement.

The statement followed calls for authorities to review the investment agreement between the two rideshare companies, 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 ease the public transport crisis that is hitting commuters in the country.”

“The investment agreement between Grab and MoveIt was designed as a response to the challenges faced by the equestrian public, especially as the economy reopens and schools resume face-to-face lessons,” Abejo said. .

He added: “The current state of public transport is struggling to cope with the influx of daily commuters, leaving them literally and figuratively stranded as they return to the new normal. Other options are simply too expensive for the average income or benefit recipient.

According to Abejo, Grab’s investment in MoveIt demonstrates the tech giant’s confidence in the resurgence of the Philippine economy.

He said Grab intends to use its resources to improve MoveIt’s services “to create a more vibrant and competitive motorcycle taxi market, which will ultimately benefit the motorcycling public.”

However, there are several measures pending in Congress aimed at legitimizing and regulating motorcycle transport services in the country.

Motorcycle taxis are currently operating under a pilot program.

Abejo, meanwhile, warned that “rejecting an agreement already signed sends a negative message to the investors, local and foreign, that we are trying to engage to jump-start our economic recovery and development.”

“The message that should be sent, instead, is that we are open to anything that would push us to be more efficient and customer-centric services, and that agreements in this country are considered sacrosanct, and therefore honored. Our investment environment must be stable and not unpredictable,” he stressed.

“As advocates, we should encourage development actions that benefit people’s interests. Public transport is imbued with a sense of public interest. We need to ensure that workers and students can return to some semblance of normalcy without being weighed down by mobility issues,” Abejo added.

CitizenWatch Philippines is an independent network that defends the interests of citizens’ rights, especially against powerful interests.