The government may look into possibility of President Duterte exercising his emergency powers to allow the operations of motorcycle taxis during the coronavirus pandemic, a Palace official said Thursday.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque mentioned the President’s option to use such authority as the government moves to revive the economy and increase the capacity of public transportation.
The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Infectious Diseases (IATF) had earlier backed the resumption of a pilot study on motorcycle taxis while waiting for the passage of a law allowing it as another mode of public transpiration.
The request to allow ride-hailing firms like Angkas has been endorsed to the House Committee on Transportation.
“Ako po ay naninindigan nga na bagama’t binato uli ng IATF sa Kongreso iyan na sa pamamagitan ng pag-iisyu ng panibagong congressional resolution ay tingin ko naman po, kapag national emergency na kagaya nito ay pupuwede namang ma-authorize na iyang ganiyang Angkas lalo na ang ekonomiya natin sa Metro Manila ay bukas nang 50 percent pero 30 percent nga lang po ang ating transportasyon (I believe that even if the IATF passed it to Congress through the issuance of a new congressional resolution, I think that during a national emergency like this, those services like Angkas can be authorized especially since the economy of Metro Manila is 50 percent open but our transportation is just 30 percent),” Roque said in an interview over DWIZ Thursday.
“So pinag-aaralan din po iyong emergency powers ng Presidente (So the President’s emergency powers are being studied),” he added.
Under the Bayanihan 2 law, the President is given the authority to direct or take over the operations of private establishments and public transportation for programs related to the coronavirus response when public interest requires. Republic Act No. 11494 or the the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, signed last month, provides for the COVID response and recovery interventions as well as mechanisms to accelerate economic recovery.
Roque, however, said it appears the House committee is inclined to issue a resolution on the resumption of the pilot study of motorcycle taxi services such as Angkas and JoyRide. He recognized the many commuters have benefited from the services of these motorcycle taxis to reach their destination.
“Talaga naman po mula noong sila ay nag-pilot study ng Angkas at JoyRide, halos lahat po talaga ng ating mga mananakay ay sumakay na diyan sa Angkas (Since the pilot study of Angkas and JoyRide started, almost all commuters have used these services),” he said.
The IATF had earlier endorsed the request of the Metro Manila mayors to continue the pilot use of the motorcycle taxis to ease the burden of commuters especially during the pandemic.
The pilot study on motorcycle taxis was initiated last year to determine if the ride-hailing motorcycle taxis are safe alternative mode of transportation. The pilot implementation expired last April. Motorcycle taxis are currently considered illegal unless Congress crafts a law allowing their operations.
On Wednesday, Roque said the best solution was for Congress to pass the franchise allowing the operations of these motorcycle taxis. “But we leave that to the sound judgment of Congress,” he said in a television interview.