Thursday, June 27, 2019

Tomas pushes fight for Angkas

CEBU CITY MAYOR TOMAS OSMEÑA will ask the City Council again to authorize him to file an appeal before the Supreme Court on behalf of the riding public in relation to the high court’s ruling against motorcycle-hailing firm Angkas.

“I will be submitting to the City Council another request for a special session to authorize me to file on behalf of the riding public to file an appeal before the Supreme Court regarding this issue,” he told reporters yesterday.

Osmeña said the P15 million in assistance that the Council approved will be used to buy sacks of rice for the habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) drivers.

Osmeña said each of the habal-habal drivers will get one sack of rice.

It will be distributed in time for Christmas.

The mayor said he has a list of habal-habal drivers already since there were efforts to organize them before.

He said the City will just have to validate it.

Osmeña also clarified that the City is not favoring Angkas because even ordinary habal-habal drivers will receive the rice assistance.

During the special session Monday, Dec. 17, the City Council approved the resolution of Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos charging the P15 million under the City’s share of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor) funds.

The move came after the recent ruling of the Supreme Court allowing authorities to apprehend habal-habal drivers including those who signed up with ride-hailing application Angkas.

Meanwhile, while they are supportive of the move, opposition councilors in Cebu City hit the P15-million emergency assistance that will be given to the habal-habal drivers in the city.

Councilor Raymond Garcia questioned the true intention of the executive, saying the emergency assistance might be used to boost the campaign of Osmeña and his party mates.

When sought for comment, de los Santos said every move they make is always tainted with political color, particularly since it’s political season.

Councilor Joel Garganera, for his part, said he wants to make sure that the assistance will be given to all habal-habal drivers who are residents in the city and not just to Angkas drivers.

Francisco “Bimbo” Fernandez, executive assistant of Osmeña, said an executive order will be issued for the guidelines of the distribution.

Only two more units of Angkas and habal-habal motorcycles were apprehended on Tuesday, Dec. 18, by the joint operation of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Highway Patrol Group (HPG).

Meanwhile, LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. told SunStar Cebu that Angkas andhabal-habal drivers are now being cautious and trying to warn their colleagues to avoid streets where apprehending teams are operating.

He said most of the drivers and their backriders are saying they are friends and there’s no fare involved. But those who are really operating illegally will soon be apprehended.

“We should inform the public that there is no let-up in our joint operation. We first impound the apprehended motorcycles at the new LTO impounding area in Lahug, Cebu City, and LTFRB will adjudicate it,” said Montealto.

He said that the non-stop operation against Angkas and habal-habal motorcycles is based on the order of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to implement the decision of the Supreme Court.

Montealto reiterated that under Republic Act (RA) 4136, a motorcycle, which is a two-wheel unit, cannot be given a franchise to operate as public transport because it’s risky and dangerous. Public safety is a must.

Earlier, LTO 7 Director Victor Emmanuel Caindec said that while they recognized the fact that people patronized Angkas and habal-habal because of the lingering traffic problem, they cannot allow anarchy in a country of laws. (EOB, RVC)


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