Pimentel’s letter, dated Sept. 2, 2019, endorsing JoyRide to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade had no impact in its selection as one of the two new motorcycle firms joining Angkas in the extended pilot run, which will end on March 23, the DOTr said.
Geremy Pintolo/ File
DOTr, Pimentel clarify JoyRide endorsement
Richmond Mercurio, Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - January 4, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III yesterday explained their involvement in a controversy surrounding the inclusion of JoyRide in the government’s extended pilot testing of motorcycle taxi services.

Pimentel’s letter, dated Sept. 2, 2019, endorsing JoyRide to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade had no impact in its selection as one of the two new motorcycle firms joining Angkas in the extended pilot run, which will end on March 23, the DOTr said.

“The letter does not mean anything. That is not the basis of who will join the pilot study. All the players have undergone deliberation. In fact, the TWG (technical working group) has examined the training facilities of each of the players,” Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran said.

JoyRide has a 5,000-square-meter facility along Marcos Highway in Antipolo.

Pimentel said yesterday his intention in endorsing JoyRide president Neil Sherwin Yu’s letter was to end Angkas’ monopoly in the motorcycle ride-hailing sector.

“The lawyers of Angkas know that monopolies are prohibited not only under the law but even under our Constitution… Hence, when I learned about a ‘pilot testing’ on motorcycle taxis conducted by DOTr involving just one service provider, then that policy prohibiting monopolies entered my mind,” he said in a statement.

He said when JoyRide asked to be endorsed to join the initial pilot run, which took place from June to December last year, he endorsed the firm’s interest to the DOTr, which the agency did not accommodate.

In his letter, the senator said the DOTr’s actions on his endorsement should be “in conformity with all existing rules and regulations as well as policies and guidelines concerning this nature.”

Not much help

Yu yesterday admitted that JoyRide sought Pimentel’s help to transmit the letter to the DOTr.

“When we sent that, that was around September and it was still the initial TWG that was handling this program. I don’t think it really helped us because our application did not move forward until much later on. I don’t believe anybody acted on that letter, based on that letter of Senator Pimentel,” JoyRide vice president for corporate affairs Noli Eala said.

Eala said Pimentel is a “family friend” of JoyRide’s owners, the Nubla and Chua families. The firm’s majority owners are Bea Chua and Ralph Nubla Jr., who have interests in real estate, banking and finance and wholesale and retail.

“The businessmen behind this are all reputable, who just want to help the Philippine riding community. We will clearly say that. These are families who are very close to one another and they decided to venture into another industry,” he said.

Eala said they had no business involvement with the senator.

“It was simply because we needed a way to send our letter faster to the DOTr. In fact it was just forwarding the letter, it was never really an endorsement,” he said.

The inter-agency TWG on motorcycle taxis approved last December the addition of two new players, JoyRide and Move It, in the extended pilot run but limited the number of registered bikers to 10,000 per firm in Metro Manila and 3,000 per firm for Metro Cebu.

Meanwhile, the Lawyers for Commuters Safety and Protection, represented by Raymond Fortun, said it will file charges against Pimentel and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board member Antonio Gardiola, TWG chairman, for alleged conflict of interest – With Rey Galupo

AQUILINO PIMENTEL III ARTHUR TUGADE DOTR
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