Imee backs Angkas

December 23, 2018
Imee Marcos

Ilocos Norte governor says motorcycle ride-hailing service pro-poor, pro-consumer and pro-jobs.

ILOCOS Norte Gov. Imee Marcos laments the ban on Angkas, a motorcycle ride-hailing application, saying “it robs working class Filipinos of a cheap way to get through horrendous traffic and prevents the creation of decent and quality jobs for Filipinos struggling to make a living.”

“Traffic is a major constraint to development especially for the poor since taxis and Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVs) are too costly for them. Angkas is a cheap and viable transport solution to millions of low-income Filipinos especially in dense urban areas since it provides cheap and fast point-to-point transportation,” Marcos explained.

She also pointed out that it compels taxis and TNVs to offer more competitive rates and enhance their services to justify their higher fares, adding that Angkas is the Grab-choice of millennials and is the fastest way to get to Christmas parties and reunions.

Marcos emphasized that Angkas and other similar motorcycle TNVs have a markedly lower investment requirement in terms of skill and capital, and so it is much easier to start an Angkas business than a taxi or Grab-type operation – thus, allowing those with smaller capital to establish job generating enterprises.

In addition, Marcos said Angkas and similar TNVs increase the mobility of workers as it shortens travel time at much cheaper prices than taxis and car TNVs thereby allowing them access to more job opportunities. “An employee from Quezon City would not take a job in Pasay with a three-hour commute, but he could tolerate a much lesser travel time through Angkas,” she added.

Instead of banning Angkas, Marcos bats for encouraging the development of motorcycle-based TNVs with a regulatory framework different from car-based TNVs which “together with lower taxes, should work to create a new market instead of preventing its growth, to the prejudice of low income commuters.”

“Instead of traditional enforcement practices, regulation of motorcycle based TNVs can be app-based and crowd-sourced where the riders provide regulators with real-time feedback on their Angkas operators, thereby ensuring better services,” Marcos said.

Marcos cites the case of Go-Jek, which has almost one million drivers in Jakarta alone. Metro Manila has a population that is about 30% larger than Indonesia, so a motorcycle based TNV like Go-Jek can create at least a million jobs in Metro Manila alone.

Estimates also show that drivers earn 65% more than the minimum wage in Indonesia. In the Philippines, drivers would earn 15% to 50% more or an additional P1,800 to P6,000 more for 1 million workers. In addition, a complementary labor market of high skilled engineering and information technology practitioners would be created as has happened in Indonesia.

Initial reports of Go-Jek’s entry in Singapore show that it has provided commuters with cheaper fares that have forced Grab Singapore to improve its services instead of engaging Go-Jek in a fare price war.

“Instead of using the Angkas and similar motorcycle TNVs to our advantage, we are killing the ‘golden goose’ that can provide more affordable fares to low income commuters, create more jobs, and minimize the economic losses we suffer from horrible traffic,” Marcos lamented.

“Instead of keeping up with new and economically beneficial transport modes in the ASEAN region, we are clinging to old modes and coddling, in the process, established car-based TNVs who charge high prices despite bad service.  Pasulong dapat ang takbo natin sa transport sector, hindi paurong. Napag-iiwanan tayo ng mga kapitbahay natin sa ASEAN,” she added. “We should stop protecting the interests of anti-poor, anti commuter taxi cartels and monopolist TNVs – the interests of the commuting public especially the poor should be first,” she concluded.