December 12 turned out to be an unlucky day for riders of suspended motorcycle-hailing service Angkas. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has turned down a long-standing appeal of Angkas to resume operations during a much awaited dialogue between the government agency, representatives and several riders of the app-based service, Land Transportation Office, and the Office of Congressman Cesar Sarmiento.
LTFRB firmly insisted that they are just enforcing an existing law, the Land Transportation and Traffic Code (RA 4236), that mandates motorcycles to be registered only as private vehicles that should never be hired to transport paying passengers. Thus, it maintained that Angkas’ operations is ineligible and illegal to receive a public transport franchise.
Handing the ball to Congress
However, LTFRB Board Member Aileen Lizada emphasized that the issues that were discussed in the meeting would be turned over to Congress, which could deliberate on it and possibly consider passing a legislation that would finally legalize ride-sharing services on motorcycles. The management of Angkas was also asked to submit a proposal to further justify its cause.
“The law was only given to us to implement,” Lizada said. “That’s why we invited Congress here.” She added that they hope Angkas’ appeal would be lodged and deliberated by the Committee on Transportation of the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, Congress will be taking a holiday break and will resume legislative sessions in January.
Support and contingency
Also present in the public dialogue was Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña, who has been vocal in supporting Angkas. The mayor asserted that the services rendered by the mobile app contributed to alleviation of traffic and transportation problems in Cebu City.
Angkas voluntarily suspended operations on November 18 while continuing to seek permanent solution to this issue with the LTFRB. It revealed that since then, it has been providing financial assistance to some of its over 15,000 riders in Metro Manila and Cebu.
As a form of consolation and immediate solution to income problems of affected riders, LTFRB (in partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment) conducted a job fair for Angkas and habal habal riders in the metro on Wednesday (December 13). It said over 3,000 jobs from 47 partner-employers could be provided to riders who have lost income opportunities when Angkas operations were halted.