Tham’s Filipino husband and Angkas’ advocacy official, George Royeca, earlier said the ownership issue has been resolved, saying he became the owner of the company in October.
The STAR/Edd Gumban
Senate to summon foreign owner of Angkas
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 27, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate committee on public services is set to summon the Singaporean owner of motorcycle ride-hailing company Angkas, which has reportedly been violating constitutional provisions on foreign ownership and laws on public utility vehicles (PUVs) since 2016.

The move was prompted by a resolution Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III filed last week, which seeks an inquiry into the “high-handed, arrogant and irresponsible acts” of Angeline Xiwen Tham, who reportedly owns over 99 percent of Angkas, and to declare her persona non grata or expel her from the country.

Tham’s Filipino husband and Angkas’ advocacy official, George Royeca, earlier said the ownership issue has been resolved, saying he became the owner of the company in October.

 But Pimentel warned that the supposed transfer does not erase any liability because Angkas began operating in 2016.

“Let’s wait for the explanation of (Angkas) and give the subject of the resolution (Tham) to also explain,” Pimentel told dzBB.

In Senate Resolution 287 filed last Jan. 16, Pimentel said records from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) showed that Tham is not only 99.996 percent owner of Angkas but also president of the company that holds office in Makati City.

Pimentel was accused of lobbying to include JoyRide, owned by his friends, in a pilot test of motorcycle taxis. He admitted writing a letter urging transport officials to look at the facilities of JoyRide, but denied exerting any pressure.

Angkas embarked on the motorcycle taxi business even without having any Certificate of Public Convenience from the government, and despite knowing that such two-wheeled vehicles are banned as PUVs under the law, he added.

Pimentel alleged that Angkas misled the SEC and other agencies when the company made it appear that it will not engage in a public utility business when it sought registration. He said the Supreme Court has already ruled that the foreigner-owned firm’s operations are covered by the definition of common carriers.

 Angkas officials and riders, with the “explicit complicity of Tham,” staged mass actions in attempts to bully and blackmail the government to have them operate as “colorum” PUVs while making it appear that thousands of their riders are going to lose their jobs, which was not true.

 Worse, they also falsely accused government officials, particularly members of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board’s Technical Working Group (TWG), of corruption, he said.

“Tham is merely a guest of our country, yet she is already acting like an oligarch which she seems hell-bent on becoming at our expense. Her acts of deriding our sovereign laws are high-handed, arrogant and irresponsible, which should bot be countenanced but condemned to the fullest,” Pimentel stressed.

 Sen. Richard Gordon said the public must be given a choice on their daily commute and stressed the need to provide a legal framework that would allow motorcycle taxis as an    interim solution and that the focus should be on finding traffic congestion solutions for Metro Manila.

 “We can decongest Manila by dispersing industries to the countryside, spreading development and economic opportunities by attracting investors to nearby provinces such as those in Central Luzon, and maximizing the use of available infrastructures such as airports, seaports and a network of highways to expedite movement of goods, raw materials and manpower,” Gordon said.

 “With the vast idle lands in the region, we can create zones for investment, industries, factories, tourism, even improved agriculture or housing for employees, for schools, hospitals, churches, supermarkets and others. It will definitely pave the way for the rehabilitation and urban redevelopment of Metro Manila,” he added.

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