DOTr: Apply full force of the law vs Angkas
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has ordered the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to double down on drivers of motorcycle-hailing app Angkas who have declared their intention to continue operating pending a final court decision on whether or not they should be allowed on the road.
On Tuesday, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade also urged Angkas to stand down after the Supreme Court stopped the enforcement of a Mandaluyong court ruling that allowed the company to resume operations.
In reaction to the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the high tribunal, the LTFRB issued a resolution on Dec. 12 ordering its enforcers to apprehend Angkas drivers and impound their motorcycles.
While the TRO did not pertain to Angkas’ operations per se, it barred Mandaluyong Judge Carlos Valenzuela from enforcing the injunction he issued against DOTr and LTFRB, preventing them from intervening with Angkas’ operations.
With the injunction temporarily lifted, the agencies have seen it as a signal to apprehend Angkas riders. The transport network company (TNC) has not been accredited by LTFRB because the law prohibits motorcycles from being used as public utility vehicles (PUVs).
“When (the Mandaluyong court) issued the injunction against the DOTr, we followed it. We urge them to do the same. The rule of law must always prevail,” Tugade said.
According to him, the DOTr “remains unequivocal that it will implement the full force of the law against colorum bikers.”
Angkas, however, insisted that the TRO did not explicitly bar its drivers from continuing to operate.
George Royeca, Angkas public affairs head, said the company was willing to shoulder the penalties, including fines, that would be slapped on their riders if apprehended.
But short of a final court decision, Angkas is standing by its drivers who said they would continue offering rides, especially during Christmastime.
It also asked patrons to sign an online petition supporting the regulation of motorcycle taxis in the Philippines.
Dubbed #SaveAngkas, the petition has so far garnered over 37,000 signatories. The company hopes to gather around 50,000 signatures before submitting the petition to LTFRB Chair Martin Delgra III.
On Sunday, thousands of Angkas drivers and motorcycle advocates joined forces in a unity ride on Edsa. They protested against what they called oppressive policies that discriminate against them, including the DOTr’s refusal to legitimize motorcycle as PUVs.
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