Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento of Samar stressed, however, that there must be an eventual phase-out of these two-wheeled public utility vehicles if and when the government has already put in place a safe, predictable and efficient mass transport system.
The STAR/Michael Varcas, File
House to fast-track bills on motorcycle taxis
Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - January 3, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The chairman of the House committee on transportation has vowed to expedite the consolidation or approval of 15 pieces of legislation on two-wheeled public transportation amid horrendous traffic in the country’s major cities.

Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento of Samar stressed, however, that there must be an eventual phase-out of these two-wheeled public utility vehicles if and when the government has already put in place a safe, predictable and efficient mass transport system.

“There are 15 House bills that are pending right now. Under our laws by virtue of Republic Act 4136 (Land Transportation Traffic Code), what has been allowed only are four-wheeled vehicles. The two wheels, they have been allowed by virtue of an executive order,” he said.

Meanwhile, the senior administration lawmaker said it would be very irresponsible of the Land Transportation, Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to phase out the popular ride-hailing app Angkas since doing so would only make commuters suffer even more.

“My concern is very simple. If we phase this one out, then our commuters will be complaining soon. They have suffered more than enough. From three to four hours of travel to work and another three to four hours back, I don’t think it’s proper,” Sarmiento said.

The chairman of the House committee on transportation suggested that LTFRB consider the welfare of the riding public, and not trim the number of motorcycle taxis plying Metro Manila and other highly urbanized areas.

Cutting the number of motorcycle taxis under Angkas would economically dislocate thousands of Angkas drivers and deny commuters a well-tested alternative to traditional public utility vehicles.

“We don’t even have an efficient mass transport system yet. That’s why we have to support an industry like this sector that is helping our passengers go to work on time,” he pointed out.

And instead of reducing the number of motorcycle taxis operating under Angkas, the government should just maintain the status quo while allowing other players to come in.

Sarmiento stressed, however, that before allowing other players to operate, they should go through the same process of accreditation just like what Angkas did before it was allowed to conditionally operate to ensure that their riders are properly trained.

“I believe that if there is a new product, it has to pass the necessary requirements first. That’s why there has to be a trial period, and this was what happened to Angkas for six months. They were allowed by the Department of Transportation,” he recalled.

EDGAR MARY SARMIENTO
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