Friday, July 19, 2019

5,000 drivers to lose jobs

Crackdown. Several motorcycles were impounded in front of the Plaza Independencia on Saturday, Dec. 15, when the Land Transportation Office 7 and the Highway Patrol Group 7 implemented Republic Act 4136, which prohibits motorcycles from being used as public transport. (SunStar Foto / Alan Tangcawan)

THERE will be 5,000 Angkas drivers in Cebu who will be affected if operation of the application-based ride will be stopped.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Highway Patrol Group (HPG) of the Philippine National Police started apprehending Angkas and habal-habal drivers Saturday, Dec. 15 in a joint operation.

This was based on the Supreme Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order against a Mandaluyong court ruling that prohibited law enforcers from apprehending Angkas drivers. But the operation included habal-habal drivers since motorcycles are not supposed to be used for public transport.

Superbalita Cebu tried to call HPG yesterday to get a report on its operation, but no one from the office answered.

In a phone interview, George Reyoca, Angkas head of regulation and public affairs, said the company’s operation will continue and the company is hopeful that the Supreme Court will eventually rule in its favor. He said Angkas will continue the legal fight in behalf of Angkas’ thousands of drivers and their families.

“We still continue to operate. We have an ongoing case in court, which has not yet been resolved. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will rule in our favor,” said Reyoca.

Angkas is now coordinating with local government units and national agencies on what they could do next.

On the legal side, Royeca said the Supreme Court already ordered Angkas (national level) to comment on the main case, which is the appeal of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on the ruling of the Mandaluyong court. Royeca said Angkas will file its comments on Monday.

“We hope that they will rule favorably for the Filipino riding public,” said Royeca.

“This is something that is still awaiting decision and we’re hopeful that we can get clarity on this as soon as possible,” Royeca continued.

Most of the Angkas drivers only depend on the application-based ride for their livelihood. Because of Angkas, many people have chosen to work legally. Some people even went as far as to resign from their regular jobs to drive an Angkas motorcycle.

But Royeca said the company is willing to help the drivers when LTO and LTFRB start apprehending drivers.

There are 25,000 Angkas drivers nationwide.

“We’ve always been supportive of the Angkas community, especially our biker partners. We will always support them as long as they follow the law,” Royeca also said.

As to the question on whether Angkas has a provisional franchise, Royeca did not really answer the question. He said: “We’re waiting for the response of the Supreme Court. We’re working closely with the local government units. Also, we have an open dialog with the national agencies.” From USJ-R Interns Kiziah Marie Suello & Angelo Seismundo Jr. of Superbalita Cebu / JGA


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