‘Don’t muddle the issue,’ Angkas hits back at government
MANILA, Philippines – Contrary to what the technical working group (TWG) has said, motorcycle taxi services are more than just business to them, Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca told Rappler over the phone on Monday, December 23. It’s an advocacy, he added. (READ: TWG allows gradual displacement of Angkas bikers 'in the spirit of Christmas'
This was in response to a statement made by the TWG earlier in the day claiming that Angkas wasn’t interested in studying the viability and safety of motorcycle taxi services as public utility vehicles (PUV), but in profit. (READ: Motorcycle taxi pilot run not about bikers' jobs, passenger demand – gov’t)
“I don’t think the government can say anything in reference to what our true intention is on the partnership,” Royeca said, citing that they had trained thousands of bikers for free, developed their infrastructure over 3 years, and gave free rides when the government needed them. “So parang unfair naman yun, na parang sa ganoon na kinu-cut nila yung 17,000 [na bikers] na iniisip lang po namin is profit. Hindi naman po yun naging ugali namin over the last 6 months.”
(So it’s unfair, now that they are cutting 17,000 [bikers], to say that we are only thinking of profit. That hasn’t been our position over the last 6 months.)
Angkas must cut 17,000 of their bikers in Metro Manila to comply with the new provisions announced by the TWG on Friday, December 20.
Under these new guidelines, Angkas, the sole motorcycle taxi provider during the initial 6-month pilot, has to share the new 39,000 biker cap with two new providers in the 3-month pilot extension. (READ: After 3 years, Angkas is still not making money)
This new rule only allows 10,000 bikers for Metro Manila and 3,000 bikers for Metro Cebu per ride-hailing firm. The initial cap for Angkas was 27,000.
Royeca expressed concerns over safety, points they’ve already presented to the TWG in November, he said, but have been ignored.
He said: “Huwag po natin i-muddle yung issue, ang issue natin dito is safety, hindi ito negosyo. Kung hindi talaga negosyo, anong sinasabi nilang monopoliya diba? Kasi ano naman po yan eh, pag dating ng batas lahat pwede mag-participate.”
(Let’s not muddle the issue, our issue here is safety, not business. If it really wasn’t about business, then what are they saying about monopolies? Because when it comes to the law, everyone will be allowed to participate.)
When the new players were first introduced, TWG head Antonio Gardiola Jr said that the cap ensures a competitive market and avoids a monopoly by Angkas.
The TWG was created to monitor the 6-month pilot run so a law could be passed on motorcycle taxi vehicles as PUVs.
Angkas and its bikers protested the new rule on Sunday, December 22, demanding that the government “save Angkas” and questioning the TWG’s intentions, given what Angkas said was a sudden announcement.
The TWG has since said, in both a release and at a conference on Monday, that the focus of the pilot is not livelihood but to study the safety and viability of using motorcycles as PUVs. – Rappler.com