By Alexandria San Juan
Motorbike-hailing company Angkas has clarified that they will comply with the order from the Supreme Court and will not prevent transport regulators from apprehending their bikers, after the Department of Transportation told them to stop defying the ruling of the high court.
“We will comply with the TRO (temporary restraining order), and we will not prevent the LTFRB from apprehending our bikers but we will give assistance to our bikers under the confines of the law,” Angkas head of regulatory and public affairs George Royeca said Wednesday.
Royeca added they have also instructed their bikers to comply with the authorities should they be apprehended and to be always courteous and respectful of the officers.”
This was after the DOTr has warned Angkas bikers who “deliberately defy” the TRO that they will be apprehended and penalized once found out transporting paying passengers.
No less than Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has directed the LTFRB earlier this week to intensify its crackdown against bikers plying as public utility vehicle on the road.
“If Angkas wants to be heard, it should also learn to listen,” the Department said in a statement Thursday.
In an interview with Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chairman Atty. Martin Delgra, he said that Angkas must comply first with the order from the Supreme Court as they respectfully complied with the order of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court when it released a preliminary injunction in favor of the ride-hailing app.
Last December 5, the high court issued a TRO against the preliminary injunction by the local court which allows government agencies to apprehend bikers and operators of the motorcycle-hailing company again.
However, amid the SC order and crackdown operations by transport regulators, Angkas said it will continue its transport service for their 25,000 bikers and the riding public who are both affected.
“This is not LTFRB versus Angkas, this is not DOTr versus Angkas. Those who are losing here is our commuters, our riding public, the 25,000 bikers who need a stable job,” Royeca said in a recent press briefing.
But DOTr argued that the issue is not about the prohibition of motorcycles from serving as public transport nor depriving the commuting public of an alternative mode of transportation but a matter of following the order of the SC.
“Nothing good comes out of defying the law because the law, while existing and unamended, must be respected and followed. As we comply with the law, let us work together to improve legislation in the country,” the agency said.
Both Angkas and transport regulators said their doors are open to discuss the issue with each other but the DOTr reiterated that the company should respect the law first.
The DOTr added that some points, including guidelines to allow Angkas enter the ambit of public transportation as well as ensuring safety of the passengers, must be consider and should be thoroughly studied.
“The matter will not be resolved with Angkas’ continued flagrant defiance of the high court’s order,” it explained.
On Wednesday, Angkas had asked the SC in a comment to dismiss the petition filed by the LTFRB and DOTr against its operation for lack of franchise as a public utility.
With its comment, Angkas also pleaded the reinstatement of the injunction issued by the Mandaluyong City regional trial court (RTC) that effectively restored their operation as ride-hailing motorcycle bikers.