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With TRO from SC, gov’t to resume drive vs Angkas

Barely four months after it was allowed back on the streets, motorcycle-hailing app Angkas hit another legal roadblock effectively banning it again.

The Supreme Court has issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) on a Mandaluyong City court ruling that allowed Angkas to operate amid objections from transport sector regulators.

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In a Dec. 5 order released only on Wednesday, the high tribunal’s Second Division chaired by Justice Antonio Carpio granted the petition for a TRO filed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Legal battle

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The Supreme Court order marked the latest episode in the legal battle between DBDOYC Inc., the company that owns the Angkas app, and the government agencies which insist that motorcycles for hire are unsafe as public transport.

In a statement, Angkas said it would continue “our fight to serve commuters in a safe and efficient manner, as well as legitimizing our riders.”

“We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will eventually rule in favor of the Filipino riding public,” it added.

According to Angkas, the TRO will affect the livelihood of 25,000 biker-partners “a few days before Christmas, when their families need it the most.”

With the high court’s ruling, the LTFRB on Wednesday ordered enforcers to apprehend Angkas drivers and impound their motorcycles starting today.

On Aug. 20, Judge Carlos Valenzuela of Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213 issued a preliminary injunction that allowed Angkas to resume operations.

The injunction stemmed from Angkas’ appeal for declaratory relief in July after the DOTr failed to comply with a congressional directive to amend a department order pertaining to transport network vehicle services (TNVS), or private vehicles operating on the platforms of transport network companies like Grab, Hype or Owto.

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Regulatory powers

The directive, issued by the House committee on Metro Manila development, gave the DOTr 30 days to include motorcycle taxis among government-accredited TNVS.

In issuing the TRO, Carpio also granted the LTFRB and DOTr’s appeal for certiorari “to prevent an injustice to the (LTFRB), whose regulatory powers [were] being pared down.”

“Considering that Angkas is a transportation provider and its accredited drivers render public service — and as such, [it] is subject to the LTFRB’s regulatory powers,” he said.

Angkas was given 10 days to file a comment.

Both the DOTr and the LTFRB said the high court’s ruling reflected their position: that motorcycles registered in the app service are not authorized to conduct business and offer public transport under Republic Act 4136.

Angkas stopped operating in November last year after the LTFRB conducted an entrapment operation that led to the apprehension of 19 of its drivers.

Earlier, the Makati City government also shut down its main training center for operating without a business permit.

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TAGS: Angkas, Antonio Carpio, DoTr, LTFRB, motorcycle-hailing app, TNVS, transport network vehicle services, TRO
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