Ride-hailing app celebrates women as another app earns flak for ‘incestuous’ ad

June 9, 2023 - 6:09 PM
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Grab and Angkas illustration
Illustration of a Grab rider taken from Grab Philippines' Facebook page uploaded on October 2020; Illustration of an Angkas rider taken from Angkas' Facebook page uploaded on June 5, 2023 (GrabPH/Facebook; AngkasPH/Facebook)

Trigger Warning: Contains mentions of incest and sexual violence

(Updated; June 9, 7:29 p.m.)  A ride-hailing app was perceived to throw shade at a motorcycle-riding app that reportedly posted an advertisement with sexual undertones.

Grab Philippines on Friday, June 9 announced a promo code for its passengers to “celebrate the strength of women.”

“We aim to be a safe space for every woman, not just for customers, but also for the people behind our services,” it said with a smiling-face-with-hearts emoji.

“Driven by women. Powered by women. For all women,” the ride-hailing app added in a text within its post.

Grab said that GrabCar users can type the promo code “PERIODT” when booking their trips this Friday.

The post came hours after Angkas reportedly posted a promo code for its “Angkas Padala” service on social media.

It is a same-day delivery service of the app which allows users to send packages to each other through their riders.

Angkas’ alleged social media post was accompanied by a publication material that had a text which reads: “Stepdad, I’m stuck (in traffic)”

Part of its caption also reads: “what are you doing stepdad”

The artwork featured a woman stuck in a hole by the roof of a car.

The post, based on screenshots taken by some social media users, had pure laughing reactions.

Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña, an organizer in public transport advocacy group Move As One Coalition, was among those who raised awareness about the ad.

According to her, it was “promoting incest and unhealthy sexual power dynamics.”

Incest refers to sexual relations involving people closely related to each other, usually of families or relatives.

“Do you even know how common sexual assault is by stepfathers in the Philippines?” Bendaña said in another tweet, tagging the account of Angkas.

“I-no-normalize talaga natin incest at gagawing funny? Paka-sahol,” she added.

Bendaña said that she had messaged Angkas CEO George Royeca and expressed her concern.

The mobility advocate also shared her sentiments as an Angkas user, saying that the ad made her feel “personally threatened” since she uses the motor-hailing app to commute, including late night hours.

Bendaña updated the public over an hour later and said that the motor-hailing app had already taken down the ad.

The ad was also criticized in a commuter group on Facebook, where a member said that the post “reeks of incest rape and sexual abuse” which she claimed is common in the country.

“Ang hirap na nga para sa mga commuters na babae na protektahan ang sarili namin from unwanted advances, catcalling, etc., tapos dadagdag pa ‘to,” the member wrote in a post.

Just last February, the Supreme Court dealt with a case of a father who raped his daughter multiple times when she was in his custody.

In 2021, a construction worker was arrested for making his own daughter a “sex slave.”

A 2017 investigative piece by Rappler said that incest was the second most common type of sexual abuse in the country, with the rate pegged at 33%.

This was not the first time the motor-hailing app was called out for its publication material.

In 2019, Angkas was flagged by the Philippine National Police for comparing user experience with that of “sex.”

The motor-hailing app released an apology afterward.

RELATED: About that ‘sex’ tweet: Here’s what happened between Angkas and the PNP

As of Friday evening, Angkas released a statement apologizing for the now-deleted post that was recently called out for being “incestuous.”

“It was not our intention, nor will we ever support or permit even the slightest disregard of women’s rights and human dignity,” it said on a social media post.

“We won’t always get things done perfectly, but we in Angkas will always listen to our community. And we will always aim to serve with honesty, humility, and respect,” the motor-hailing app added.