House body OKs na­tional pi­lot test­ing for Angkas

The Philippine Star - - METRO - By DELON POR­CALLA

The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has adopted a res­o­lu­tion di­rect­ing the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) to im­ple­ment a na­tion­wide pi­lot run on the use of mo­tor­cy­cle taxis like Angkas de­spite a freeze or­der is­sued by the Supreme Court (SC).

This was af­ter the House com­mit­tee on Metro Manila De­vel­op­ment, headed by Que­zon City Rep. Win­ston Castelo, held a con­gres­sional hear­ing yes­ter­day and in­vited sev­eral key re­source per­sons in the pub­lic trans­port in­dus­try.

“Now that we have es­tab­lished that Angkas is safe, fast, af­ford­able and is re­lied upon by thou­sands of Filipino com­muters, the com­mit­tee now comes up with a res­o­lu­tion urg­ing the DOTr to im­me­di­ately al­low Angkas a pi­lot run na­tion­wide,” he said.

The DOTr un­der Sec­re­tary Arthur Tu­gade was also di­rected to make the “draft for the im­ple­ment­ing guide­lines” for the op­er­a­tion and reg­u­la­tion of mo­tor­cy­cle ride-hail­ing firm Angkas, whose op­er­a­tions were stopped by the SC in De­cem­ber 2018, re­vers­ing an or­der is­sued by a Man­daluy­ong court.

The House com­mit­tee also said the DOTr should come up with the im­ple­ment­ing guide­lines in two weeks.

Among the law­mak­ers and re­source per­sons who vouched for the ef­fi­ciency and safety of Angkas as a form of pub­lic trans­port were Reps. Cristal Ba­gats­ing (Manila), Arnolfo Teves Jr. (Ne­gros Ori­en­tal), and Angkas op­er­a­tions di­rec­tor David Me­drana and spokesman Ge­orge Royeca.

The hear­ing was also at­tended by DOTr Un­der­sec­re­tary Mark de Leon, Cebu City Mayor To­mas Os­meña, High­way Pa­trol Group spokesper­son Su­per­in­ten­dent Oliver Tanseco, and for­mer Land Trans­porta­tion Fran­chis­ing and Reg­u­la­tory Board mem­ber Ariel In­ton.

Castelo’s col­league, Camiguin Rep. Xavier Je­sus Ro­mualdo, ear­lier said there is noth­ing wrong or il­le­gal if the gov­ern­ment le­gal­izes the use of mo­tor­cy­cle taxis like Angkas to help ease the wors­en­ing pub­lic trans­port prob­lem.

“They’re very preva­lent in the prov­inces and they’ve ex­isted for a long, long time al­ready. I don’t see why they shouldn’t be le­gal­ized,” he said, re­fer­ring to the pop­u­lar ha­bal-ha­bal, un­reg­is­tered mo­tor­cy­cle taxis ply­ing the coun­try­side.

“Gov­ern­ment would then be able to prop­erly reg­u­late them if they’re le­gal­ized,” said Ro­mualdo, chair­man of the House com­mit­tee on good gov­ern­ment and pub­lic ac­count­abil­ity.

Ro­mualdo has also ex­pressed con­cern about the im­pli­ca­tions of the tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der of the SC, which pro­hib­ited Angkas rid­ers from hail­ing com­muters es­pe­cially in peren­ni­ally traf­fic-grid­locked Metro Manila.

Castelo said the DOTr can is­sue an or­der al­low­ing a mo­tor­cy­cle-rid­ing app as the coun­ter­part of ride-shar­ing app Grab.

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