Angkas may have violated foreign ownership cap, says transport dept

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 08 2020 08:28 AM | Updated as of Jan 08 2020 08:53 AM

An Angkas driver picks up passengers in Manila in this file photo. The transportation department said on Jan. 8, 2019 that the platform was 99.9 percent Singaporean-owned, in possible violation of a constitutional cap on foreign holdings in local businesses. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — The operator of ride-hailing firm Angkas is "99.9 percent" owned by a Singaporean, in possible violation of a constitutional restriction that capped foreign ownership in certain businesses, the Department of Transportation said Tuesday. 

A technical working group overseeing the pilot run of motor taxis "presumed" that Angkas was a "regular" company and only recently pored over the papers of its operator, DBDOYC Inc, said DOTr Assistant Secretary Bert Suansing.

The owner of DBDOYC is Singapore national Angeline Tham, who left Grab to set up Angkas Suansing told DZMM radio. Tham was not immediately available for comment and a public relations agency for Angkas declined to issue a statement.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade replaced the original members of the technical group that failed to spot Angkas' potential ownership issues. The constitution caps foreign ownership of public utilities, including transportation, at 40 percent and reserves 60 percent for Filipinos.

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Angkas could be blacklisted over "clear and blatant" violations of rules for a test run for motorcycle taxis, a government official overseeing the pilot said Tuesday. 

Angkas, with 27,000 riders, was the sole motor taxi operator during the initial pilot test that ended in December. The extended trial, which will run until March, included rivals JoyRide and Move It and authorized 10,000 riders per platform, a move that Angkas protested.

A Mandaluyong court on Monday issued a 72-hour temporary restraining order against the rider cap which, according to Angkas, would displace 17,000 riders.