House body OKs national pilot testing for Angkas
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.