Popular app-based ride-hailing service Angkas has been getting overwhelming support from commuters, lawmakers, government officials, celebrities, and various other groups in light of the recent TRO issued by the Supreme Court in favor of the LTFRB.
The massive support that Angkas has been getting was evident in a free concert that the ride-hailing service held last Saturday at the Quezon City Circle main stage. Thousands of people–all Angkas customers and supporters–went to the free concert that featured top celebrities such as Nadine Lustre, Sam Concepcion, Hale, Ella Cruz, Shanti Dope, Mayonnaise, Quest, Ex Battalion, Gab Valenciano, and Andrew E.
In short videos shown during the concert, other prominent stars expressed their support for Angkas including Dingdong Dantes, Yassi Presman, Matteo Guidicelli, Tim Yap, Rovilson Fernandez, Marc Nelson, Phoemela Barranda, Kim Atienza, Myrtle Sarasa, Sabbie Rodriguez, Shawn Yao, Fabio Ide, and Jinno Rufino.
Lawmakers and government officials threw in their support for Angkas. Congressmen Winston Castelo, Cristal Bagatsing, Rodel Batocabe, Johnny T. Pimental, Xavier Jesus Romualdo, and Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña all issued statements in favor of the continued operation of Angkas considering the sorry state of mass transport in the country today and the benefits that the service has been providing local commuters.
“Government is supposed to make the people’s lives better, not worse. Angkas was a cleaner, safer version of what is the only practical mode of transportation for many Cebuanos, especially those who live in remote barangays,” Osmeña said in a news interview.
Former LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez reiterated in his post that Angkas should be allowed to operate and that the LTFRB and the DOTr have the power to legitimize and regulate the ride-hailing service.
Congressman Castelo, Chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, likewise urged the DOTr to allow Angkas to continue its operation for the sake of public interests.
In a recent statement, Castelo said the DOTr can issue a Department Order to allow Angkas’ ride-hailing operations in the same manner that transportation network companies (TNC) or transport network vehicle services (TNVS) like Grab were allowed to do so.
“A mere DO can suffice to lessen the suffering of the commuting public. DOTr should realize this. If they cannot provide efficient and reliable mass transportation system as they are mandated to do, they should at least be creative and use modern technology. We should not be technical and legalistic on this while millions of Filipinos are suffering from traffic and losing PHP2 billion in lost opportunities,” Castelo said.
Rep. Johnny T. Pimentel of Surigao del Sur, in turn, decried the timing of the SC order. “Actually, the TRO is only temporary, however, the timing is not right considering the Christmas rush. Many commuters are having a hard time getting a ride. This will again be a big burden to our traveling public,” Pimentel said in a news report.
The Mobility Coalition, an alliance of organizations supporting commuter welfare, also recently issued a statement supporting Angkas. In the statement, the group said that they are disheartened by the recent Supreme Court decision and declared their support of the “regulation of motorcycle taxis as a public transport option”
The online community was abuzz with tremendous support for Angkas, acknowledging the help that the ride-hailing app has given commuters like them. In fact, the hashtag #SaveAngkas has trended on Twitter recently, and most tweets have been in support of moves to allow the operation of Angkas and to work for its regulation.
Moreover, around 130,000 netizens have signed an online petition calling on the government to “Save Angkas” and regulate motorcycle taxis instead of prohibiting them from operating. The number of signatories continue to increase for the change.org petition.
“We have received tremendous support from our customers and from the general public and we are truly grateful about this,” noted George Royeca, Angkas head of Regulatory and Public Affairs. “Rest assured that we will do our best to come up with a course of action that’s within the bounds of law so that we can once again serve the Filipino commuters,” he added.
Without the legitimate Angkas ride-hailing service, passengers are forced to use underground habal-habal services, according to Angkas Operations Head David Medrana.
“These habal-habals are riskier for our commuters because many of these bikers have no drivers’ licenses, have had no training in proper motorcycle safety procedures and proper motorcycle regulations, and offer no insurance at all,” he added.
The LTFRB continues to insist that motorcycles are unfit for passenger transport due to safety issues. Angkas officials stress, however, that the LTFRB has consistently ignored Angkas’ safety record as well as proof of the precautions it takes to ensure passenger safety, including biker training and assessment, quality helmets, and accident insurance.
Angkas’ safety record currently stands at 99.997%, above and beyond the rates cited by government agencies to claim otherwise. “Our safety record is a testament not only to the viability of using motorcycles for safe passenger services, but also of the massive improvements that a single committed organization can make to professionalize an industry,” stressed Royeca.
The Angkas petition can be found on this link: https://www.change.org/p/ltfrb-saveangkas-and-support-the-regulation-of-motorcycle-taxis-in-the-philippines.