Lawmakers on Tuesday expressed support for ride-hailing app Angkas and its rider-partners after the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order allowing the LTFRB to apprehend Angkas riders who are caught ferrying customers.
Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, the chairman of the Congressional Committee on Metro Manila Development, said, “We hope that the Supreme Court will realize that the issuance of the TRO that effectively prevents Angkas to operate will greatly affect the Filipino commuters, especially considering that thousands of commuters direly need the service during the holiday season. “
Castelo earlier backed what he described as “efficient transport services” for Filipinos in Congress and has been in support of moves to regulate the ride-hailing service considering the many mass transport issues in the country.
“Angkas provided an alternative to commuters, addressing a gap by the public transportation system. It has proven to be an affordable, reliable, and safe mode of transportation,” Castelo said.
Last June, after a congressional hearing that tackled local mass transportation issues, Castelo gave a directive to the LTFRB and the DOTr to include motorcycle taxis in their previous Department Order that allowed private four-wheeled vehicles to ferry passengers and operate under ride-hailing apps. The two agencies ignored the Congressional directive.
Manila Rep. Cristal Bagatsing, for her part, said the SC’s TRO deprived over 25,000 motorcycle riders of a decent livelihood and deprived thousands of commuters of what could possibly be the fastest and most convenient mode of transportation available in the busy city streets― one that is monitored, safe and provides liability insurance.
“The main issue here is that the current law does not allow for motorcycles to ferry passengers. Passed way back in 1964, that law is over half a century old, 54 years to be exact, and sorely needs to be repealed or amended,” Bagatsing, member for the majority bloc of the House committee on transportation, said.
“Regulation, not prohibition, is the answer―as informal motorcycle colorums are already the main transportation choice of thousands of commuters, even before Angkas,” she added.
Rep. Rodel Batocabe of the Ako Bicol party-list backed other lawmakers’ position that the TRO deprived thousands of ordinary commuters of a cheap and reliable means of transportation while depriving Angkas rider-partners their livelihood.
“The SC TRO does not consider the marginalized sectors of society who not only rely on Angkas for an affordable yet efficient transport service but also rely on the platform for livelihood., which can be really inconvenient and painful especially this Christmas season,” Batocabe, a member of the minority bloc, added.