Why Angkas plans to continue operations despite Supreme Court ruling

December 14, 2018 - 5:13 PM
Angkas Supreme Court Interaksyon
Motorcycle ride-hailing app Angkas believes there is hope for its services despite a Supreme Court TRO allowing transportation agencies to apprehend their drivers. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)

Motorcycle ride-hailing app Angkas announced that it will continue operations despite the Supreme Court’s recent resolution allowing the Land Transportation, Francising and Regulatory Board to apprehend their riders.

Angkas Spokesperson George Royeca in a statement to reporters on Friday said the company would continue its services as the temporary restraining order issued by the high court on December 5 only covered the injunction issued by the Regional Trial Court of Mandaluyong in September 2018 that barred the LTFRB from apprehending Angkas riders and shutting down Angkas operations.

Royeca said that it meant that there was no decision on whether or not Angkas was legal or illegal.

LTFRB then released a board resolution ordering its law enforcement units and other authorized traffic enforcement agencies to apprehend Angkas riders seen on the road and impound their motorbikes.

Angkas said that it will support its riders despite the order.

“Angkas has always been here to support its riding community.  So we will support all of our bikers to the extent of the law,”  Royeca explained at the press briefing. He said that Angkas will help in paying fines.

Angkas said that SC resolution put the livelihoods of at least 25,000 biker-partners or riders at risk. The company also claimed to have 99.997 percent safety record that was ignored.

It has turned to humor to protest the crackdown against it, using “AngkasTRO” as a promocode for discounts on its services and airing out its opposition through memes on social media.

Columnist JC Punongbayan attested to the app’s usefulness in a post

Royeca said that Angkas will be filing its comments on the SC’s resolution as the high court ordered.

Battle continues

Angkas had been in mainstream operation since the Mandaluyong RTC’s ruling in September 2018.

The ‘habal-habal’ practice of using motorcycles for public transportation is prohibited by law. Angkas was seen as an attempt at mainstreaming the practice in the Philippines

Section 7(a) of Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code prohibits the use of motorcycles for public transport.

Additionally, motorcycles were left out of the coverage of the 2015 Department of Transportation order that allowed the use of privately-owned sedans, AUVs and SUVs to be used in public transportation through registration with a transport network vehicle services such as Grab.

“RA 4136 is the law. Unless it is changed, then that is the only time that they can be allowed. Otherwise, no,” former LTFRB board member Aileen Lizada said in a media interview in 2017 about why the LTFRB found Angkas’ services to be illegal.

Former LTFRB board member Ariel Inton in a recent interview after the SC decision meanwhile said that Angkas should be regulated but not banned. He said that there have been attempts to lobby for the legalization of motorcycles for public transport.

“If motorcycles were not safe, then they would not be sold around the world. They only become dangerous when the driver isn’t careful,” he said.

The LTFRB as early as December 2017 explained that it was Congress as the lawmaking body that had the power to legalize Angkas and habal-habal practices.