House OKs bill allowing motorcycles as public transport on second reading

House OKs bill allowing motorcycles as public transport on second reading

A commuter uses an Angkas motorcycle in Makati City, to bypass Metro Manila’s traffic choked roads. (File photo by NIÑO JESUS ORBETA / Philippine Daily Inquirer)

MANILA, Philippines — Motorcycle-riding apps may soon operate again — legally this time — as the House of Representative on Wednesday passed on second reading a bill that would regulate the use of motorcycles as a mode of public transport.

If enacted,House Bill (HB) 8959 — titled An Act Allowing and Regulating the Use of Motorcycles as Public Utility Vehicles — will amend the decades-old Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

According to Section 7(c) of R.A. 4136, “private motorcycles, scooters, or motor wheel attachments […] shall not be used for hire under any circumstances and shall not be used to solicit, accept, or be used to transport passengers or freight for pay.”

But the proposed law revises this provision to allow ride-sharing apps using motorcycles, such as Angkas or Habal-Habal, to roam the streets again. To recall, a temporary restraining order (TRO) issued in December 2018 by the Supreme Court (SC) stopped the operations of Angkas.

The TRO was against Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213’s decision to prevent the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) from suspending Angkas operations.

READ: SC temporarily stops Angkas operations

READ: Angkas files motion to lift TRO suspending its operations

However, the TRO did not deter Angkas riders from making trips, albeit done secretly.  Angkas officials argued that their means of transporting people is a safe and convenient way to move through heavy traffic, especially in Metro Manila.

They also called for the amendment of R.A. 4136, claiming the law — enacted in June 1964 — is severely outdated.

READ: Despite SC’s TRO, Angkas to continue operations

READ: Angkas riders call on lawmakers to amend R.A. 4136