Angkas faces blacklisting for violating pilot run guidelines – TWG

Loreben Tuquero
Angkas faces blacklisting for violating pilot run guidelines – TWG
The motorcycle taxi technical working group receives reports of Angkas operations in Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City, areas not included in the pilot run

MANILA, Philippines – Pioneer motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas may be prohibited from legally operating in the future after the motorcycle taxi technical working group (TWG) received reports of its operations in areas not allowed by the pilot run guidelines.

For its initial pilot implementation, Angkas was only authorized to operate in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

But the TWG, composed of transportation officials, said field reports and social media posts showed the availability of Angkas in Cagayan de Oro City and General Santos City in Mindanao. 

“This is a clear breach of the terms of reference by Angkas, and a blatant, and very dangerous disregard of the agreed guidelines set by the TWG,” the group said in a statement.

The TWG then urged Angkas to explain the breach to determine if the TWG should impose sanctions.

In response, Angkas said that they worked with local government units (LGU) on a case-to-case basis, dependent on the LGU’s need or request. 

Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca said that General Santos City and Cagayan de Oro “gave their blessing” for the ride-hailing firm to serve in their locales. Royeca also claimed that Cagayan de Oro had a local ordinance that allowed motorcycle taxi operations.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member and TWG chairman Antonio Gardiola Jr reiterated that there was no law that covered the operations of motorcycle taxis as a mode of public transportation. (READ: Why Angkas is illegal)

Transportation Assistant Secretary and TWG consultant Alberto Suansing added that LGUs cannot go above the national law, adding that any local ordinance that allowed motorcycles-for-hire was defective. 

“The action of Angkas and their admittance of having arranged their motorcycle taxi operations to whoever in CDO and Gen San only shows their arrogance to even challenge existing laws and the government and overtly displays their blatant defiance and disregard to the guidelines,” Gardiola told Rappler on December 28.

He added that those who operated outside the pilot run may be penalized under Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. Under this law, violators may be fined, suspended, or imprisoned for using motorcycles for hire. 

Gardiola then said that should motorcycle taxis be legalized, Angkas may be prohibited from operating because of this breach.

Ang hirap dito sa Angkas ay namisconstrue nila na ‘yung pilot run is a license for them to make money (What’s difficult about Angkas is that they misconstrued the pilot run as a license for them to make money),” Suansing told Rappler.

This development was the latest in the clash between the TWG and Angkas, after the announcement of the revised guidelines spurred concerns that 17,000 Angkas bikers may lose their jobs due to the new cap of the pilot run extension.

With regard to the extension of the motorcycle taxi pilot run until March 2020, Suansing said Angkas would be cited for this violation.

The revised guidelines of the motorcycle taxi pilot run indicated that ride-hailing providers and riders that operate without authority will be blacklisted if motorcycle taxis be legalized for public transportation.

The pilot run is set to end on March 23, 2020, and the TWG is scheduled to submit its final report and recommendations regarding the pilot run to both houses of Congress on April 15.

Gardiola said it would be up to the lawmakers to decide if Angkas would be blacklisted should motorcycle taxis get legalized. – Rappler.com

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Loreben Tuquero

Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.