AT least three lawmakers have expressed support for the ride-hailing app Angkas and its rider-partners after the Supreme Court (SC) issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) allowing the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to apprehend Angkas riders caught ferrying customers.
“We hope 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,” said Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development.
Castelo has been advocating efficient transport services in Congress and has been in support of moves to regulate the ride-hailing service considering the 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 stressed.
Last June, after a congressional hearing that tackled local mass transportation issues, Castelo gave a directive to the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation (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 said the SC’s TRO deprives over 25,000 motorcycle riders of a decent livelihood and deprives 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 Passed way back in 1964, that law is over half a century old, 54 years to be exact, and sorely needs to be repealed or amended,” Bagatsing revealed.
“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.
Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe echoed the other lawmakers’ belief that the TRO deprives 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,” added Batocabe.