MANILA, Philippines – The Lawyers for Commuter Safety and Protection (LCSP) sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) against 5 motorcycle taxi firms for having unauthorized operations that may pose a danger to the public.
On Monday, December 9, the group held a press briefing on their petition to the Quezon City Regional Trial Court for the injunction and temporary restraining order against We Move Things Philippines Inc. (JoyRide), Habal Rides Corporation, I-Sabay, Sampa-Dala Corporation, and Trans-Serve Corporation.
The lawyers expressed apprehension towards these "untested" firms because they are operating outside of the 6-month pilot run of motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas, which was approved by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
The DOTr formed a technical working group (TWG) to oversee the pilot implementation.
LCSP said the firms fail to assure the safety of passengers because they do not regularly submit data on their operations and are not being monitored, unlike Angkas.
"We are seeking the interference of our judiciary to put a stop to this. Not only is it a possible danger to commuter safety but it might also imperil the evaluation of the pilot program itself," LCSP member Atty. Raymond Fortun says.
Fortun alluded to how Angkas has a safety record of 99%. "That's the kind of security we want...What about the other players?" he said,
He said Congress may be swayed against legalizing motorcycle taxis due to the safety hazards that these firms pose. The pilot run was approved for lawmakers to study the legislation for motorcycle taxis.
Not against competition
The lawyers said they were not against accommodating more players in the motorcycle ride-hailing market. Vicente Topacio, LCSP Secretary, said that while they are pushing for competition, they are taking the safety of the passengers into account.
"What we are saying is that bago kayo makapasok, kailangang dumaan dun sa parameters ng TWG (What we are saying is that before they enter, they need to go through the parameters of the TWG)," said LCSP member Ariel Inton.
DOTr Undersecretary for Roads Mark de Leon earlier said new motorcycle taxi firms will be accepted if they are compliant with the guidelines of the pilot run, to be evaluated by the technical working group.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade also said that should the pilot run be extended to accommodate other players, they will also be held to the safety requirements that they earlier imposed on Angkas.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Technical Division Chief Joel Bolano earlier said that 6 motorcycle taxi firms have submitted their proposals to enter the pilot testing and are now being evaluated.
The LCSP claimed that despite being part of the TWG, they were not informed about these developments. Further, they said they were never consulted about bringing in other players in the first place.
Inton said the petition was "very timely," since some authorities seem to be open to allowing these firms entry into the pilot run. – Rappler.com
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.