MANILA -- Motorcycle taxis need the permission of lawmakers to return to roads, Malacañang said Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to limit modes of public transport
The inter-agency task force leading the pandemic response "has done what it could do" by endorsing to the House transportation committee the resumption of a pilot study on motorcycle taxis, said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.
"Hindi kasi puwede namang mag-operate nang walang franchise, pero kung papayagan naman ng Kongreso through a resolution iyong continuation ng pilot study prior to the approval of the franchise, mapapayagan naman sila," he told CNN Philippines.
(They cannot operate without a franchise. But if the Congress through a resolution allows the continuation of the pilot study prior to the approval of the franchise, they will be allowed back on the roads.)
"The best solution of course is for Congress to pass the franchise as law already, but we leave that to the sound judgement of Congress," he added.
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.
Although 50 percent of the economy has reopened in areas under looser lockdown, the public transport system is operating at only 30 percent of its pre-pandemic capacity, said Roque.
To serve more passengers, President Rodrigo Duterte's Cabinet on Monday 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 Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, he said.
The LTFRB on Tuesday also allowed 4,820 more jeepneys to ferry passengers in Metro Manila, reports said.