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Citing Safety, LTFRB Suspends Angkas Operations Once More

The order comes in the midst of Christmas rush traffic
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Bad news for commuters.

The transport operations of motorbike-hailing company Angkas will once again be suspended following a Supreme Court (SC) decision allowing government regulators to apprehend drivers and riders of the service.

On December 5, the SC issued a temporary restraining order (TRO), effectively immediately, against the implementation of the writ of preliminary injunction granted to the company behind Angkas, DBDOYC Inc., by the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court (RTC) in August.

Related: How Motorbike-Hailing Startup Angkas Thrived Amid a Regulatory Crackdown

The Mandaluyong RTC’s order prevented the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) from interfering with Angkas’ operations. The company’s motorcycle taxi operations were suspended indefinitely by the LTFRB in November 2017 on the grounds that Philippine laws do not allow two-wheeled vehicles to transport fare-paying passengers.

After the SC’s TRO was made public on Wednesday, December 12, the LTFRB is set to issue a resolution within the day that will order its enforcers to implement the provisions of the decision.

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“The DOTr and LTFRB express its gratitude to the high court for issuing the TRO, as it is in line with our efforts to prioritize the safety and security of the riding public through proper implementation of the law,” the DOTr and the LTFRB said in a joint statement.

“Our position remains the same — motorcycles registered in the service are not authorized to conduct business and offer public transport under Republic Act 4136. For them to be allowed, the law has to be amended by Congress,” the regulators added.

However, Angkas reiterated that its safety record is at "99.997%". 

"This [SC decision] comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of commuters need the Angkas service to beat the worsening holiday traffic. This TRO also puts the livelihood of 25,000 biker-partners at risk, a few days before Christmas," Angkas' head of operations David Medrana said in a statement. "We offer our safety record of 99.9997% as a potential model for responsible traffic safety nationwide. We will continue our fight to serve commuters in a safe and efficient manner, as well as legitimizing our riders." 

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In November 2017, Angkas was forced to shut down its operations as a platform that connects passengers to private motorbike drivers for lack of franchise from the LTFRB. Its business model was deemed illegal as under Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, private motorcycles and scooters cannot be used to carry passengers.

A month later, Angkas relaunched its platform and introduced a same-day delivery service.

Since 2008, three House bills have been introduced seeking to regulate and legalize motorbikes used for transportation. However, transport agencies seem to be against the idea for safety reasons.

According to data from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) last year, there have been 76,834 motorcycle-related road crashes since 2014.

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Elyssa Christine Lopez
Elyssa Christine Lopez is a staff writer of Esquire. Follow her on Twitter @elyssalopz
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