Why Isn't There a Law Yet Legalizing Motorcycle Taxi Services in the Philippines?

It’s about time, a group said.
IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK

The government should prioritize passing a law that will finally legalize motorcycle taxi services in the Philippines, representatives of civil society, the government, and an industry player said on Wednesday.  

Representatives of The Passenger Forum, Infrawatch, the Land Transportation Office, and motorcycle taxi service MoveIt came together on Wednesday to urge Congress to prioritize the passage of the Motorcycle Taxi Bill to properly regulate the operations of motorcycle taxis in the Philippines. 

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 “While motorcycle taxi companies are making a mess by arguing among themselves, we should remain focused on the real issue on the table—that we need an actual law for the motorcycle taxi sector,” Infrawatch Convener Terry Ridon said. “That is the first order of the day.”

Motorcycle taxis have yet to be officially legalized as a form of public transportation and are currently operating under a pilot study. While there was an attempt to start the process to legalize them during the last Congress, this was halted due to the pandemic.

Only three companies have been allowed to operate motorcycle taxis: MoveIt, JoyRide, and Angkas. MoveIt was recently acquired by Grab. All three are required to provide the government with data to prove that they are a safe mode of transportation for the public. 

“The law will ensure the safety of their operations,” Ridon said. “We first need to create the law instead of arguing about the pilot program. We should support one another in pushing for the law. For as long as a law is not passed, the sector will look like the wild, wild, west.”

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The Passenger Forum Primo Morillo agreed, saying that motorcycle taxis can help address the transport crisis in some parts of the Philippines. “We are still at the mercy of the discretion of the government and we believe that it is high time that we pass the motorcycle taxi law,” he said. “We think this should be a priority of the new Congress to provide commuters with more options.”

In February, months before the change in the members of the Congress, the House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading House Bill 10571, which consolidated 18 bills that aim to legalize motorcycle services as a form of public transportation. 

Under Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, motorcycles are prohibited to be used as public transport. 

“At the end of the day, we need a law,” LTO Director Alex Abaton said. “Congress can be the one to provide the guidelines,” Abaton said. “It’s about time that we recognize this mode of transportation because there is a need for it.” 

Morillo said motorcycle taxis can be a viable and safe mode of public transportation with proper training of riders and the implementation of safety protocols. 

MoveIt General Manager Wayne Jacinto noted that for MoveIt, drivers undergo “rigorous training and skills assessment.” Insurance is also provided for both riders and passengers.

“MoveIt is the smallest player, and we aim to provide our riders with a means to earn, while offering passengers a safe mode of transportation,” he said. 

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