MANILA - The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Sunday said it never told motorcycle taxi-hailing firm Angkas to deny rides to "heavy passengers."
Angkas recently updated its app and required passengers to disclose their weight information to ensure the safety of the biker and passenger.
"Ang hirap sa kanila, they're putting words into our mouth. Spin nila 'yun eh para magalit 'yung publiko sa amin eh. Maliwanag na ang sinasabi namin sa kanila, dapat 'yung rider must be able to ferry the passenger's safely," DOTr Assistant Secretary Alberto Suansing told ABS-CBN News.
(The trouble with them, they're putting words into our mouth. That's their spin so people will get angry at us. It's clear that what we're telling them is that the riders must be able to ferry the passenger safely.)
"Siyempre kung maliit na motor ang gagamitin mo, eh di may handicap ka nu'n pagka malaking tao 'yung isasakay mo. 'Yun, 'yun. Pero wala kaming sinabi na bawal kang magsakay ng mataba."
(Of course, if you're using a small motorcycle, you have a handicap when ferrying a big person. That's it. But we never said fat people should be banned from riding.)
Angkas operations chief David Medrana earlier said that the policy was based on their "discussions with the DOTr at the start of the pilot back in June 2019," adding that the provisions could be found in the passenger safety cards carried by its bikers and online materials.
He clarified that Angkas was still in the data collection phase.
"Weight is not yet being factored into bookings. Eventually, our goal is to ensure all bookings match you with the most appropriate bike and biker," Medrana said.
Suansing said the only explicit order of DOTr to ensure the safety of passengers was to deny bookings from pregnant women and persons with disabilities.
Suansing said a technical working group (TWG) has already listed some recommendations to secure the safety of passengers, including the wearing of padding and proper size of helmet for passengers.
The TWG, tasked to discuss issues attendant to the prospect of 2-wheel vehicles operating as public transport, is expected to decide the fate of motorcycle taxi-hailing firms and recommend legislation to Congress by March.
It earlier accused Angkas of “blatantly” violating the guidelines by operating outside Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.