As DOTr starts crackdown, Angkas turns to court of public opinion for support

December 18, 2018 - 4:18 PM
Angkas riders in protest
Angkas riders in a "Unity Ride" in December 2016 to protest the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board's crackdown against motorists. (The STAR/File photo)

Motorcycle ride-hailing app Angkas is turning to the public to get support after a loss in the Supreme Court and an order from the Department of Transportation to apprehend its riders.

Angkas reshared an online petition that was created several months ago urging the public to support their riders and for LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III to cease legal actions against them.

The ride-hailing app recently shared the petition on Twitter—their most active platform—in the hopes of garnering more signatures for their campaign.

The petition, titled “#SaveAngkas and Support the Regulation of Motorcycle Taxis in the Philippines,” gave a rundown of Angkas’ battle with the government agency and how the livelihood of riders and the commuters’ welfare would be affected by the crackdown.

Part of their statement reads:

“The LTFRB has, on at least 2 occasions, passed up the chance to work with Congress and the private sector to provide safe and efficient transport alternatives to Filipinos, despite having numerous setbacks and delays in their own efforts to modernize mass transport systems in the country.”

“Thus far, the LTFRB continues to insist that motorcycles are unfit for passenger transport due to safety issues, yet has consistently ignored Angkas’ safety record as well as proof of the precautions it takes to ensure passenger safety, including biker training, quality helmets, and accident insurance.”

“Angkas’ safety record currently stands at 99.997%, above and beyond the rates cited by government agencies to claim otherwise. It is a testament not only to the viability of using motorcycles for safe passenger services, but also of the massive improvements that a single committed organization can make to professionalize an industry.”

Angkas also reiterated that they have “trained and educated” over 70,000 motorcycle riders free of charge since it has started operating.

In a recent news report, data from the Metro Manila Development Authority indicates that there have been 14,707 accidents involving motorcycles in the National Capital Region from January to August of 2018.

Out of all the accidents, 124 cases have resulted in death, 6,608 in non-fatal injuries and 7,975 cases in damage to property.

LTFRB vs. Angkas

The Department of Transportation recently announced on their Facebook page that LTFRB will apprehend riders found violating the Supreme Court’s order.

“Hulihin ninyo ang lahat ng Angkas riders na lalabag. Hindi naman tamang i-violate ng Angkas ang batas at ang Supreme Court order. Mali ‘yon. Noong naglabas ng TRO ang korte laban sa DOTr, sumunod kami. Sana ay ganoon din sila. The rule of law must always prevail,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

Previously, Angkas riders and members of motorcycle rights organizations traversed EDSA in protest of LTFRB’s planned crackdown on riders of the motorcycle ride-hailing firm.

They also protested the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act of 2017 pending in Congress that requires riders to have “bigger and reflectorized plate numbers” in a move to be identified by authorities under the perception that “motorcycles have become crime machines.”

The protest came after Angkas announced last Wednesday that they will continue operating despite the Supreme Court releasing a resolution that allowed LTFRB to apprehend its riders.

Angkas Spokesperson George Royeca reasoned that the high court’s temporary restraining order did not mention whether the motorcycle ride-hailing firm is legal or not.

Commuters also voiced their concerns on the apprehension and noted that the government agency’s move would further limit their travel options especially in the midst of the holiday rush.

Current law states that motorcycles are not allowed to be used for transporting passengers.

Section 7 of the Republic Act 4136 or the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code,” states that private motorcycles, scooters or motor wheel attachments are prohibited from being used “for hire.”

DOTr does not recognize motorcycles as vehicles to be used for public transportation under the registration of transport network vehicle services.