MANILA - Motorcycle taxis like Angkas are now allowed to operate, Malacañang said Friday, as authorities sought to raise the capacity of the mass transport system and boost the pandemic-battered economy.
The House of Representatives allowed the resumption of the pilot study program for motorcycle taxis, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"Pinayagan na rin ang mga pagpapatupad ng motorcycle taxi pilot study pagkatapos payagan ng Kamara de Representante na i-extend ang motorcycle taxi pilot study program. So, mabuting balita po 'yan kasi pupuwede naman tayong mag-Angkas o mag-Joyride," he said in a Laging Handa public briefing.
(The motorcycle taxi pilot study has been allowed after the House of Representatives allowed its extension. That is good news because we can ride Angkas or Joyride again.)
"Mayroon pong guidelines na i-issue ang LTFRB. Pero ang maganda po rito is wala na pong hadlang. Antayin lang natin ng sandali ang guidelines," said Roque.
(The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will issue guidelines. But what's good here is there is no longer any hurdle. Let us just wait a bit for the guidelines.)
Three ride-hailing platforms participated in the trial that ended in March, namely 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.
"We are happy to know of the recent announcement of Malacañang giving the official green light for the resumption of operations of Angkas. This is indeed a welcome news not only for our Angkas bikers but also for the thousands of passengers who have relied on the safe, fast and affordable service that Angkas offers," said Angkas in a separate statement.
Angkas said the resumption of operations would bridge the gap during the pandemic when 60 percent of the workforce need to go back to work but only 40 percent of public transport is available.
Angkas earlier urged passengers to "invest in your own helmet." No guidelines for motorcycle taxi resumption of operations have been released yet.
To serve more passengers, President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet earlier approved a one-seat-apart rule inside public vehicles, Roque said.
The new rule will take effect after publication in the government journal Official Gazette and release of guidelines from the LTFRB, Roque said.
Roque on Friday announced a slew of relaxed rules to help the country's battered economy recover from recession.
The country is forecast to see a 6.9 percent economic contraction this year, the World Bank has said, the biggest since the 1980s and worse than the government's projected 5.5 percent decline.
The health department on Thursday confirmed 1,664 new coronavirus infections, the third straight day of fewer than 2,000 additional daily cases, and 38 more deaths. In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed infections had risen to 363,888, while deaths have increased to 6,783.
- With a report from Reuters, Bruce Rodriguez and Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News