The House of Representatives, through the Congressional Committee on Metro Manila Development Authority, and the Department of Transportation have agreed to a pilot run for motorcycle ride-hailing service Angkas as a test case for motorcycle taxi operations in the country.
DOTr Undersecretary Mark de Leon said that the proposed pilot run of Angkas is part of the efforts of the technical working group created by the department to assess the viability of motorcycle taxis as public utility vehicles as well as to test the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) that the group is drafting.
TWG has met twice already and we are planning for a third meeting to finalize the IRR and the proposal to have the pilot run,” De Leon said.
Once finalized, the IRR will be submitted to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade for his final approval.
Manila Rep. Cristal Bagatsing revealed that her constituents have been asking her for updates on the Angkas legalization. “Lagi akong tinatanong ng aking mga contituents sa Maynla sa Maynila kung kalian ba magiging legal ang Angkas dahil iyon lang ang kanilang hanapbuhay,” Rep. Bagatsing said asked,” Ano ba kailangan naming gawin para mapabilis ang lahat dahil matagal nang naghihintay ang aking mga constituents?”
Committee chairman Rep. Winston Castelo said that the provisional authority to operate is needed immediately to help Filipinos in their daily commuting struggle and to allow some 27,000 Angkas biker-partners who have not been earning for over a month already to resume their livelihood.
“Although pertinent bills have been filed, we need to give Angkas the provisional authority to operate for the sake of Filipino commuters who have been waiting for their service for quite some time already,”
Rep. Castelo added, “The pilot run will also allow Angkas biker-partners to resume their means of livelihood which was suspended when the Supreme Court filed a TRO last December.”
Angkas Head of Regulatory and Public Affairs George Royeca expressed his gratitude to the DOTr for the ongoing meetings. “We wish to tell the committee that we are very happy with the ongoing TWG meetings,” Royeca said. “The DOTr has been helpful in developing the regulatory framework for motorcycle taxis.”
Rep. Arnolfo Teves Jr. of the third district of Negros Oriental also pushed for the immediate resumption of Angkas operations. “It’s a good thing to roll it out now para ngayon pa lang makita na natin ang resulta ng operasyon. If you already have an IRR, that’s as approved on your end,” Rep. Teves told the DOTr.
Meanwhile, an opposition leader in the House of Representatives on Monday urged Congress should pass new legislation that would allow motorcycles to run as public utility vehicles (PUVs).
Deputy minority leader and Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said “considering that motorcycle taxis have been mainstreamed by mobile ride-hailing applications, we might as well permit them and set standards for drivers and couriers in order to protect the riding public.”
Besides addressing the need for on-demand door-to-door public transportation and courier services, Campos said the legalization of motorcycle taxis would help many Filipinos, including returning migrant workers and students, support themselves.
He said legalization would also put an end to rampant extortion by corrupt agents of the law.
“Right now, motorcycle taxi drivers are vulnerable to a shakedown wherever they go,” Campos said.
Campos authored House Bill 8855, or the proposed Act Allowing Motorcycles as PUVs.
The bill proposes to amend the 55-year-old Land Transportation and Traffic Code that prohibits the use of motorcycles-for-hire in conveying both passengers and freight.
The Supreme Court recently issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against a lower court decision that barred authorities from apprehending drivers operating under the ride-hailing firm Angkas.
The TRO was directed at the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213, which previously ruled that the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) could not arrest Angkas drivers.
Partly due to the rise of the two-wheeled vehicle as taxis, the number of newly registered motorcycles surged to an average annual rate of 19.62 percent since 2015, according to the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
Of the 2,942,142 motorcycles without sidecars registered from January to June 2018, LTO records show that 978,867, or 33 percent, were registered for the first time.