Motorcycle taxis need Congress resolution to resume operations â Palace
Thousands of Angkas riders gather to protest the 10,000-rider cap imposed on the company by LTFRB in this photo release by motorcycle taxi service Angkas dated December 22, 2019.
Release / Angkas
Motorcycle taxis need Congress resolution to resume operations — Palace
Franco Luna (Philstar.com) - October 14, 2020 - 10:41am

MANILA, Philippines — Motorcycle taxi services including Angkas and other companies will need to secure approval by means of a Congress resolution first before they can ply the roads once more, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Wednesday. 

Speaking in an interview aired over CNN Philippines, Roque pointed out that the government's coronavirus task force has already endorsed the resumption of a pilot study on the services to the House transportation panel.

"They really can't operate without a franchise, but if Congress allows them through a resolution calling for the continuation of the pilot study prior to the approval of the franchise, they will be allowed," he said in an interview aired over CNN Philippines.

"The best solution, of course, is for Congress to pass the franchise as law already, but we leave that to the sound judgment of Congress," he also said. 

To recall, the prohibition of the motorcycle taxi services came after the trial, participated by ride-hailing platforms Angkas, Joy Ride and MoveIt, officially ended in March. 

Since then, talks of a possible continuation were only further delayed by the suspension of public transportation under the coronavirus-induced community quarantines. 

For his part, transportation chief Arthur Tugade, in a separate statement sent to reporters Wednesday morning, reiterated that the DOTr will fully support this, provided that a Congress Resolution is passed to serve as the DOTr’s legal basis for its implementation.

"The DOTr recognizes the role of motorcycle taxis in transporting our commuters to their destinations. This is a substantial help now that public transportation is limited. This is precisely why, as long as there is a Congress Resolution, which will be our legal basis to allow the operation of MC Taxis, we will fully support this. We will abide by the directive of Congress and the IATF on the health and safety protocols,” Tugade said in a mix of Filipino and English.

On Tuesday morning, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board also opened 44 additional routes of the traditional public utility jeepney and allowed 4,820 more traditional PUJ units to ply their routes in Metro Manila.

Pre-pandemic, motorcycle cycle taxis quickly became popular options for commuters amid what many called a mass transportation crisis in Metro Manila—calls that have carried over to the coronavirus pandemic as well with most of public transportation operating under reduced capacity. 

RELATED: Whatever happened to: Anti-COVID motorcycle barriers

Besides this, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield still enforces a motorcycle barrier for pillion riding that experts say may dangerously affect a motorcycle's aerodynamics. 

At a forum in November, Angkas CEO Angeline Tham said that she considers moves to close down alternative transport options “an attack on every Filipino’s quality of life,” citing a statistic from the Japan International Cooperation Agency that traffic congestion in Metro Manila now costs P3.5 billion in "lost opportunities" daily.

"One out of three Filipino families own a motorcycle and over 90% of these come from low-income families," she said.

"There’s a traffic epidemic that plagues us here. It affects our choices, freedom, and mental health. What about the regular commuter and his options?"

ANGKAS COVID-19 GENERAL COMMUNITY QUARANTINE MASS TRANSPORTATION CRISIS MOTORCYCLE TAXIS NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION
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