SOME lawmakers appealed to the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision halting the operation of ride-hailing app Angkas to give relief to the commuting public.
Solons led by Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo, chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, expressed support for Angkas because it is providing another service especially during this Holiday season.
The SC issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) allowing the LTFRB to apprehend Angkas riders who are caught ferrying customers.
“We hope that the Supreme Court will realize that the issuance of the TRO that effectively prevents Angkas to operate will greatly affect the Filipino commuters, especially considering that thousands of commuters direly need the service during the holiday season,” Castelo said in a statement.
Castelo has been openly advocating efficient transport services for Filipinos in Congress and has been in support of moves to regulate the ride-hailing service considering the many mass transport issues in the country.
“Angkas provided an alternative to commuters, addressing a gap by the public transportation system. It has proven to be an affordable, reliable, and safe mode of transportation,” he stressed.
Last June, after a congressional hearing that tackled local mass transportation issues, Rep. Castelo gave a directive to the LTFRB and the DOTr to include motorcycle taxis in their previous Department Order that allowed private four-wheeled vehicles to ferry passengers and operate under ride-hailing apps.
The two agencies ignored the Congressional directive.
Another solon supporting Angkas, Manila Rep. Cristal Bagatsing, said the TRO deprives over 25,000 motorcycle riders of a decent livelihood and deprives thousands of commuters of what could possibly be the fastest and most convenient mode of transportation available in the busy city streets -- one that is monitored, safe and provides liability insurance.
“The main issue here is that the current law does not allow for motorcycles to ferry passengers. Passed way back in 1964, that law is over half a century old, 54 years to be exact, and sorely needs to be repealed or amended,”
Rep. Bagatsing added: “Regulation, not prohibition, is the answer-- as informal motorcycle colorums are already the main transportation choice of thousands of commuters, even before Angkas.”
For his part, Ako Bicol Rep. Rodel Batocabe expressed beliefs that the TRO deprives thousands of ordinary commuters of a cheap and reliable means of transportation while depriving Angkas rider-partners their livelihood.
“The SC TRO does not consider the marginalized sectors of society who not only rely on Angkas for an affordable yet efficient transport service but also rely on the platform for livelihood., which can be really inconvenient and painful especially this Christmas season,” Batocabe said.