Rushing new motor-taxi players endangers public safety: Angkas

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 24 2019 09:13 AM | Updated as of Dec 24 2019 09:36 AM

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MANILA - Ride-hailing app Angkas on Tuesday said rushing two new firms to operate would put the public's safety in danger as it urged Congress to look into an interagency body's process in limiting the number of motor-taxis.

A technical working group conducting a pilot run for the safety of motor-taxis has put a rider cap of 10,000 motorcycle drivers on motor-hailing firms Angkas, Move-It and Joy Ride, slashing Angkas' numbers from 27,000.

Angkas has a "99.997 percent" safety record, according to its spokesman George Royeca. It has so far trained 120,000 riders for free but has failed 70 percent, who are then urged to re-train, he added.

"It took us 3 years to develop the infrastructure to monitor 27,000 bikers. Now you're asking new players within 3 month’s time to fill up 10,000. These are untested players, with all due respect to them," he told ANC's Early Edition.

"Para i-rush 'yung bagong player, when it took us 3 years to build, kinakabahan po ako in terms of the quality of bikers that will be on the road."

(To rush the new players, when it took us 3 years to build, makes me nervous in terms of the quality of bikers that will be on the road.)

Royeca also urged Senate and the House of Representatives to investigate the TWG's process in coming up with the ruling as it said "external members of the old TWG" were removed and "there was not a consultation."

"I’m not questioning their authority or making insinuations. Let’s have some transparency. 'Yung journey ng Angkas alam po ng buong publiko 'yan eh. Every Christmas na lang po may Christmas gift na ganito," he said.

(I’m not questioning their authority or making insinuations. Let’s have some transparency. The public knows the journey of Angkas. Every Christmas, we have a gift like this.)

Angkas earlier accused the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) of corruption following the TWG's ruling.

The TWG said it allowed 2 other firms to join the extension of the motor-taxis' pilot run until March 2020 to avoid Angkas' monopolization of the business.

Angkas, however, said it welcomes competition.

"Even the Philippine Competition Commission commissioner said yesterday what the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) is doing is anti-competitive. Paano po ako naging monopoliya if mismong ang PCC nagsabi na hindi po," Royeca said.

(How are we a monopoly if the PCC itself said Angkas is not one?)

"New players are inevitable pag naging batas po ito. Talagang kasama po 'yan sa buhay, pero ang sa amin po gawin po muna natin 'yung tama."

(New players are inevitable when this becomes a law. It's part of life. We just want regulators to do what is right.)

The TWG's decision became effective Monday but it had granted a period of transition until January, Royeca said. Angkas has submitted the names of 2,204 riders out of 10,000, as of Monday, he added.

"We’re trying our best to be able to comply but bigyan niyo naman po kami ng oras. Paano po namin susuriin 'yung 27,000, parang Sophie's Choice, mamimili ka kung sino 'yung anak mong magsu-survive. Nahihirapan po kami. It’s been a hard Christmas for us and the families of our bikers," he said.

(We’re trying our best to be able to comply but give us time. How will we scrutinize 27,000 riders? It's like Sophie's Choice, which child do you want to survive. It's difficult for us. It’s been a hard Christmas for us and the families of our bikers.)

The LTFRB said riders may choose to join the other two firms, but Royeca said there was no guarantee they would be accommodated as the new players have already begun fielding bikers.