Angkas Buhay: Ambulance on two wheels

Angkas, the fastest-growing motorcycle-hailing app service in the Philippines, has revealed plans to come up with the very first motorcycle ambulance service in the country.

Dubbed “Angkas Buhay,” the groundbreaking ambulance service aims to provide first aid on-the-spot for emergency cases or the immediate transport of doctors to the patient. In this regard, Angkas is inviting driver-partners and new sign-ups to join the pilot program in Metro Manila to train as volunteer paramedics.


Initially a collaboration between Angkas, Our Lady of Guadalupe Colleges and Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center in Mandaluyong City, Angkas Buhay will pioneer an intensive training course for Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT-certified) drivers.

After undergoing training, qualified EMT drivers, armed with life-saving techniques aboard a specially-designed “ambucycle” fitted up with medical supplies and equipment, will be able to stabilize patients until secondary medical transport arrives. 

Expected to go live towards mid-2019, Angkas Buhay will be featured through an in-app “Emergency” button to match the EMT driver in close proximity to the patient.            

Debuted on Nov. 25, 2018, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, Rizal, during the inaugural Safety Fiesta of Angkas to commemorate its first anniversary, Angkas Buhay is the latest initiative of the transport app in support of public safety. Displaying the “ambucyle” prototype with a brief video trailer, a panel of speakers from Angkas and its key partners gave an overview of the project.        

“We’ve all heard the tragic stories about critical patients who needed to be rushed to the hospital but because of the traffic gridlock and the cost of ambulance rides, many are, sadly, dead on arrival. For some of us, this may even hit close to home, but what if Angkas could change all that?” said Angkas founder and CEO Angeline Tham.

Posing a challenge to the riders, Tham recounted the heroism demonstrated by driver-partner Francis C. Belecario, who, last Sept. 3, was instrumental in the rescue of wounded patroller, PO1 Berlino L. Ricafort, in Barangay Kamputhaw, Cebu City.

Cited for exceptional bravery and invaluable service to the community, Belecario was recognized by the Cebu City PNP for quick thinking and immediate response to the call of duty when he brought PO1 Ricafort to the nearest hospital for treatment. Tham points out that were it not for Belecario on the Angkas platform, PO1 Ricafort’s injuries might have proven life-threatening.    

An eye-opening moment for Tham, she shared that the incident was a turning point for Angkas, “We started out with one mission, to help commuters beat the traffic, and for many, that is a lifesaver. Then we realized that we could go further as a public service, not only taking passengers where they need to go, but to hasten the arrival of medical attention for those needing urgent care.” 

Angkas Operations head David Medrana also took the opportunity to encourage drivers to register for the Angkas Buhay program, “We welcome both new drivers and our current partners to become part of our elite EMT team. Angkas Buhay is accepting applications and we are looking forward to introducing our first batch of trainees to the public.”  

On behalf of affiliate VRP, OLGC College administrator Mark P. Vergel de Dios remarked, “OLGC and VRP are proud to embark on this partnership with Angkas. Angkas Buhay will help many people and we are thrilled to impart our knowledge to Angkas drivers.”

Metro Manila Development Committee chairman Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo and transport-sector ally was also a guest of honor, together with Quezon City Councilor Precious Hipolito Castelo; PNP Highway Patrol Group Director, Chief Superintendent. Roberto Fajardo and NCRPO Deputy Regional Director for Administration Chief Superintendent Amando Clifton Empiso were also in attendance. 

Castelo commended the “ambucycle” for its civic-oriented innovation. “We have seen how commuters have benefitted from the safe, affordable, and convenient mode of transportation offered by the platform, and now we can also depend on Angkas to extend another valuable public service,” he stressed. 

Concluding the program, Tham underscored that Angkas Buhay strengthens their larger brand advocacy for safety: “Angkas is steering 14 million motorcycle drivers to a safe and professional livelihood, and now with Angkas Buhay, the platform can also be a means for saving lives.”

Since launching the service in 2017, Angkas has provided free driver education to 60,000 motorcycle drivers, with 20,000 qualified drivers in their fleet across three urban hubs in Metro Manila, Cebu, and Cagayan de Oro. 

Topics: Angkas , Angkas Buhay , Our Lady of Guadalupe Colleges , Victor R. Potenciano Medical Center , David Medrana
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