President Rodrigo Duterte is expected to sign into law a bill that will legitimize motorcycle taxis before he steps down in June this year, a lawmaker said.
“I’m hoping (House Bill 10572) will become a law in the next few months,” Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, chair of the transport committee of the House of Representative, said Motorbike in a news forum.
The bill, a consolidation of 18 other proposals, seeks to legalize and regulate the operations of firms providing motorcycle-for-hire services.
Once it becomes a law, all qualified companies that employ motorcycle riders via ride-hailing apps to ferry passengers or deliver food, parcels and mails will be able to secure a franchise from the government
It will supersede an existing pilot program run by the Department of Transportation that currently limits participants to just three transport firms: Angkas, JoyRide and Move It.
HB 10572 is meant to address the needs of millions of Filipinos for a reliable, accessible and economical mode of transport, amid a shortage in public utility vehicles because of mobility curbs meant to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will also create jobs for hundreds of thousands who own motorcycles and in need of a steady source of income, Sarmiento said.
Data from online resource firm Statista showed that there were now over 7 million motorcycles across the Philippines from just 3.5 million in 2010.
HB 10572 has passed second reading. The Senate is also close to approving its own version.
“If the House and Senate bills are similar, we won’t need a (bicameral committee). The president can sign the bill. We are given nine session days up to Feb 5. I think we can do it,” said Sarmiento.
Don Pangan, president of Kapatiran sa Gulong, said he sees legitimizing motorcycle-for-hire services as the government’s way to “repay all the sacrifices and heroism of our riders over the past two years of a pandemic”.
He said the law would remove barriers that have denied jobs to tens of thousands of motorcycle riders.
“We’re asking for just one thing: to have a law that will open opportunities to all players and give everyone a fair chance,” he said.
He said there were several firms with the resources to provide ride-hailing and goods-delivery services “but they are being stymied by the state we have now” because of the government’s motorcycle taxi pilot program.
The transportation department earlier ordered Move It to dissolve its partnership with ride-sharing giant Grab, which has the largest subscriber base of some 5 million potential riders.