THERE is now a mobile application that will allow single men and women to “rent” someone who can serve as their companion in various occasions.
Pangga, an app developed by a group called Filipinos, offers their clients the possibility of hiring “companions-for-hire” who can portray a specific role for his or her situation.
But while the app is still available in Manila, local officials in Cebu are planning to check if the operation may have been used for criminal purposes.
Based on Pangga’s Frequently Asked Questions page, the app provides companions that can serve different roles based on the needs of the client.
Pangga’s companion categories include social media boyfriend or girlfriend who would serve as the client’s “special someone” on Facebook.
Another category, Rent a Date, allows the hired partner to serve as a boyfriend or girlfriend in social events.
The hired companion may also serve as a fitness buddy, a local tour guide or just someone who would listen to his or her problems.
But the app’s developers clarified that they are not an escort service.
Pangga’s site states that while hired companion can portray the role of a boyfriend or a girlfriend, certain limitations should be strictly observed and implemented.
Massaging the hands, playing games or cards, watching movies, taking selfies and the like is allowed.
Holding hands with the client are also allowed in “special circumstances.”
But kissing, “akbay (putting the arm around the shoulder),” sexual services, and other unwelcome or inappropriate behaviors are not allowed.
Cebu Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale said she plans to order the Provincial Women’s Commission (PWC) to check the app.
The vice governor said it was the first time she heard of the Pangga app.
Cebu City Councilor Dave Tumulak, on the other hand, said that while the company is currently based in Manila, he will ask the City Treasurer’s Office to check if similar companies are operating in the city.
Tumulak, who serves as the City’s deputy mayor for police matters told SunStar Cebu that it’s important to have the business permits of such companies reviewed to check the legitimacy of their business.
“This is still a form of prostitution and the City Government does not tolerate such practices,” said Tumulak.
Cebu City councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said that if Pangga only promotes consensual companionship just like many dating sites, then he sees no problem with it.
“But if it involves violating the other party’s human rights, such as abuse, prostitution and other illegal activities, then this is where a line will have to be drawn,” he said.