GRAB Philippines is confident that its acquisition of MOVE IT, which allows it to enter the market for motorcycle taxis, is compliant with existing rules, its public affairs director said.

“Legally, based on the pilot guidelines issued by the DoTr (Department of Transportation), we feel that we are covered,” Grab Philippines Public Affairs Director Sherielysse R. Bonifacio told BusinessWorld during a gathering on Thursday last week.

“For us, it’s a good response to the situation we have now. Transport is in short supply and given the rising cost of fuel, we really believe that motorcycle taxis are a good response,” she added.

Grab Philippines aims to expand MOVE IT’s existing motorcycle taxi fleet and improve the efficiency of its platform to service more commuters and onboard at least 6,000 driver-partners within three months.

Ms. Bonifacio said that Grab Philippines already operates MOVE IT, noting that there is no “prohibition” to doing so under the current guidelines for the operation of motorcycle ride-hailing firms, which include Angkas and JoyRide.

“We’ve informed the officials of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board of the current administration. We’ve told them in a face-to-face meeting plus we wrote a letter to tell them about it,” she said.

“It seems that the reception was neutral, and we will find out if there are further instructions,” she added.

According to Grab Philippines, MOVE IT will be independently operated using the existing technology and application.

“It will continue to comply with the standards set by the DoTr’s motorcycle taxi pilot program,” the company said in a statement.

Grab Philippines Country Head Grace T. Vera Cruz said the company is “doubling down on our commitment to outserving the needs of the Filipino people, and we are optimistic that through MOVE IT, we will create more livelihood opportunities, spur greater economic activities, and help improve every Filipino’s daily commute.”

“If there is a question of law, we shall be prepared to respond,” Ms. Bonifacio said.

Grab Philippines and MOVE IT signed a partnership deal last year to expand the latter’s market access and availability of its motorcycle taxi services. However, the technical working group tasked with overseeing the operations of motorcycle taxis issued an order suspending the partnership’s implementation pending further study. — Arjay L. Balinbin