Senators warn motor taxi TWG against 'childish' moves
Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate public services committee, urged lawmakers to continue considering motorcycle taxis as an alternative amid today's traffic crisis.
The STAR/Geremy Pintolo

Senators warn motor taxi TWG against 'childish' moves

Franco Luna ( - January 21, 2020 - 6:36pm

MANILA, Philippines — Senators on Tuesday supported the Land Transportation Regulatory and Franchising Board's decision to continue the pilot study for motor taxis but warned the latter against repeating such actions.

In a separate interview with ANC's "Headstart" earlier that day, Sen. Joel Villanueva said that the move to halt the pilot testing for motorcycle taxi services was mere retaliation.

"I think it's a childish move kasi kitang kita mo na galit at ganti itong nangyari na statement nila," he said in the interview.  

"Ang basis nila during the hearing kulang yung mga data, hindi daw nag-ko-cooperate [pero] most of the resource persons there were saying we were not invited. They didn't get anything [at] walang masagot. Yet they were saying tapos na and this is the result of their pilot testing."

(It was so clear that what happened in their statement was out of anger and retaliation. Their basis during the hearing was that they lacked data and there was no cooperation.) 

Sen. Grace Poe pointed this out earlier as well. 

"Ang sinasabi ninyo ang datos na meron kayo ay galing sa Angkas na 99% ang kanilang safety record pero ngayon kinakansela ninyo ang pag aaral nito dahil sinasabi ninyo dapat ligtas ang ating mga kababayan," she told the TWG, pointing out that the lack of data was completely counterproductive to the point of the study.

(What you're saying is that the data you have that Angkas has a 99% safety record came from Angkas. But now you're canceling the study because you're saying the public should be safe.) 

The inter-agency technical working group behind the study suddenly announced on Monday their intent to cancel the pilot test, prompting outrage on social media. The TWG has blamed Angkas' for the termination of motorcycle taxi operations, but the latter insisted that they complied with guidelines every step of the way.  

Alternative amid traffic crisis

For her part, Poe, who chairs the Senate Public Services Committee, called the continuation of the pilot operation a "triumph for commuters in need of alternative mode of transportation," saying that "traffic congestion and the rising demand for mobility" were sufficient reasons for lawmakers to consider regulating the motorcycle taxi industry.

Today, 440,000 private vehicles slither along the EDSA thoroughfare per day, far exceeding the avenue's listed carrying capacity of 220,000. The resulting congestion costs the Philippines P3.5 billion in lost opportunities daily according to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, an amount that is expected to double by the year 2030.

"We hope the concerned agencies will devote adequate time and effort to thoroughly study its viability and safety, and come up with a comprehensive report that could aid Congress in legislating appropriate law," the senator said in a statement on Tuesday. 

"We caution them against resorting to childish tactics against participants in the study. Their mandate comes from the LTFRB, and their purpose is to help create a regulatory framework. Let bygones be bygones, and the TWG must buckle down to work."

"Huwag po tayo magpadalos-dalos ating mga desisyon, lalo na kung makakaapekto ito sa maraming tao," Villanueva also said. 

(Let's not be rash with our decisions, especially if these will affect a lot of people.) 

"Let the study rise and fall on its merits, not on childish tactics."

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