DOTr deploys ‘mystery passengers;’ to impose sanctions vs ‘habal-habal’
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transporation (DOTr) has warned to impose sanctions against unregistered or “colorum” bike-for-hire operators called “habal-habal” after “mystery passengers” had been deployed to check the authenticity of their operations.
DOTr said on Thursday that personnel from the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) have started inspecting riders’ safety equipment and their permits to operate.
The department clarified that only riders within bike-for-hire companies like Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It — which are participating in a pilot testing study — have been accredited to provide such transportation services.
“Nagsimula na pong mag-deploy ng mga ‘mystery passengers’ ang Task Force ng Other Law Enforcement Agencies (OLEAS) na binubuo ng Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT-DOTr); MMDA; LTO; LTFRB; HPG at Local PNP,” DOTr said in a statement.
(The Task Force of the other law enforcement agencies which includes I-ACT, DOTr, MMDA, LTO, LTFRB, HPG, and PNP have started deploying mystery passengers.)
“Aktwal na iniinspeksyon ng mga mystery passengers ang mga gamit pangkaligtasan at pambiyaheng dokumento ng mga rider participants ng Motorcycle Transport Network Companies (TNCs) na kalahok sa ginagawang Motorcycle Taxi Pilot Implementation Study ng Technical Working Group (TWG),” they added.
(The mystery passengers conduct inspection of safety equipment and travel permit documents of the riders belonging to the transport network companies joining the motorcycle taxi pilot implementation study of the technical working group.)
LTFRB Board Member and TWG chair Antonio Gardiola Jr. also reminded that motorcycle riders not registered with the participating bike-for-hire apps are not allowed to operate.
“Mahigpit na ipinagbabawal ang pagbiyahe ng mga motorcyle riders na hindi nakarehistro sa TWG [Motorcycle riders not registered with the TWG are strictly not allowed to ferry passengers],” Gardiola said.
“Ang mga motorcycle riders na lalabag sa naturang probisyon ay ikinukonsiderang ‘kolorum’ at oras na mahuli ay papatawan ng karapat dapat na kaparusahan sa ilalim ng mga umiiral na batas,” he noted.
(Motorcycle riders who would found violating the said provision are considered ‘colorum’ and if they are caught, they would be sanctioned in accordance to the existing laws.)
Last January, there were talks that the pilot testing period would end after Angkas filed a preliminary injunction against LTFRB, after the latter allowed JoyRide and Move It to join the testing period, and after the rider cap of Angkas was reduced to just 10,000.
However, the charges were dropped by Angkas after the other companies agreed to allocate some of their rider share to the said company.
The pilot testing period is slated to end by around March 2020, but Gardiola said that they are open to extending the pilot run to accommodate the needs of commuters.
Edited by JPV
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