MANILA -- (UPDATE 2) Motorcycle taxis will be deemed "illegal" from next week after a technical working group overseeing their pilot run recommended the termination of its study ahead of schedule, the transport official in charge said Monday.
The report of the Department of Transportation's technical working group was submitted to Congress, said Antonio Gardiola Jr., a member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
The technical working group urged the DOTr Secretary and the Congress "to immediately terminate the implementation of the pilot study," according to a letter addressed to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade.
"The study will not be able to produce/gather comprehensive data for analysis and evaluation as one participant, Angkas is deliberately questioning and arrogantly defying the guidelines set forth by the TWG," the letter dated Jan. 17 said.
Senator Bong Go said he asked Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chairman Martin Delgra to continue with the pilot program.
Go also said he would ask President Rodrigo Duterte to back the continued pilot test for motorcycle taxis.
Angkas secured temporary restraining orders against the implementation of a 30,000 cap on riders which will be equally divided to 3 players including JoyRide and MoveIt.
Motor taxis could be considered illegal because "they are drawing their authority to run motorcycles because of the study," Gardiola said.
Asked if motor taxis could still operate if considered illegal, Gardiola said: "Hindi po, kasi may batas tayo diyan (No, because we have a law on that."
"A week from now, we can start enforcement," Gardiola said. He did not say exactly when the enforcement would start.
The TWG also recommended the blacklisting of Angkas’ parent DBDOYC and its incorporators for blatant “defiance on mandated guidelines,” the letter said.
The extended pilot run for motor taxis was supposed to end in March. During the test, the TWG was to draft proposed regulation.
Three ride-hailing platforms participating in the trial are: Angkas, Joy Ride, and MoveIt.
Pioneer Angkas gained popularity for providing cheaper ride-hailing services and faster commute through Metro Manila's traffic-choked roads.
-- Report from Sherrie Ann Torres, Jacque Manabat and Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News