By Alexandria San Juan
Motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas is running the risk of being blacklisted for challenging the government and for its “clear and blatant” violations of the guidelines set by the inter-agency technical working group (TWG) for the motorcycle taxi pilot run.
“[It is] very possible for them to be blacklisted because of their violations of the guidelines,” TWG chairman retired major general Antonio Gardiola Jr. said in a press briefing in Quezon City on Tuesday.
Among these violations, Gardiola noted, are issues on surge pricing, improper wearing of safety vests of its riders, and operating outside the designated areas of the dry run.
“Mayroon kasi tayong sinet na guidelines and one of the guidelines, mayroong provison for blacklisting,” he added. (We have set guidelines and one of the guidelines includes a provision for blacklisting.)
According to Gardiola, who is also a member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), they have verified reports that Angkas is operating in Cagayan De Oro City as well as in General Santos City, a clear violation of the revised rules set by the TWG.
Under the new guidelines, players participating in the extended dry run are allowed to operate within Metro Manila and Metro Cebu only.
“It was confirmed that they are operating in Cagayan De Oro, they were [taking] passengers there. It is a clear and blatant violation of not following the guidelines of the TWG. They have been also operating in General Santos City,” Gardiola said.
At least six units of Angkas found to be operating in Cagayan De Oro were recently impounded in an operation conducted by LTFRB Region 10 after receiving reports of the firm’s “illegal operation” in the area.
Gardiola explained that Angkas is not only violating TWG’s guidelines but also transport laws, as it is strictly prohibited to use motorcycles to transport passengers.
For his part, TWG consultant Alberto Suansing tagged Angkas’s repeated violations and protest actions as “arrogance” and a form of “bullying” to the government.
Meanwhile, Gardiola also urged bike firms to be patient and comply with the guidelines during the three-month pilot test that will run until March 23.
“They are challenging the government. The government is putting it in the right perspective. Kaya nga pinag-aaralan ito kasi in the end, ito ay para sa kanila (We are studying it because it is also for their sake),” he said,
After the termination of the study, Gardiola said they will be submitting their report and recommendations to the Congress on April 15 to aid lawmakers in crafting laws to legalize the operation of motorcycle-taxis in the country.
While Angkas will still be allowed to operate during the pilot implementation, Gardiola said it could be blacklisted when it applies for a license once regulations are in place.
Angkas has been protesting the 10,000 rider cap set by the TWG on each of the three players participating in the pilot run, which they claimed would displace 17,000 of the 27,000 riders on its platform.
On Monday, the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court issued a three-day temporary restraining order (TRO) against the cap set by the TWG.
The three-page order signed by acting Executive Judge Ofelia Calo, in response to a class suit filed by Angkas, states there is urgency to issue a TRO, citing “grave and irreparable injury that these bikers will suffer” from the new policies on motorcycle taxis.