Around 8,000 strong motorcycle riders and groups in and outside Metro Manila gathered at the EDSA People Power Monument last Sunday to show their support to ANGKAS and to push “Motorcycle Taxi” as an alternative to help Filipino commuters.
The Unity Ride also denounces government discrimination of motorcycle riders.
Half of the protesters were Angkas riders, who suddenly found themselves at the receiving end of LTFRB apprehensions, as they decry LTFRB’s continued drive to shut down their operations permanently.
The other half is made up of different motorcycle clubs in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
The Unity Ride started at the Kalayaan Shrine in EDSA, heading northward towards Centris near Quezon Avenue, then making a U-turn to head back to where they started.
Angkas riders have been airing their frustration over not being able to serve the commuters and earn a living, in the light of a recent Supreme Court Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) junking a previous RTC injunction that prevented the LTFRB from apprehending Angkas riders.
In a press briefing held at a restaurant in Katipunan, Angkas Head of Regulatory and Public Affairs George Royeca said that they will always comply with the decision of the courts but they will also not tire of appealing to the Supreme Court.
Royeca also revealed that Angkas officials have been reaching out to DOTR and LTFRB for an open dialogue with them to find solutions.
“Using various media channels, the LTFRB has made clear its intent to crack down on Angkas bikers, citing a very narrow interpretation of the law. Yet we have on various occasions presented the LTFRB with different options to move forward together,” Royeca noted. “We have always believed that regulation, not prohibition, is key,” he added.
Because of the apprehensions initiated by the LTFRB, many of the Angkas bikers are scared of going out and taking rides from commuters.
“This has put around 25,000 0f our rider-partners out of a decent livelihood, and during the holiday season, too, when their families need their income the most,” David Medrana, Angkas Operations Head, stressed. “It is also unfortunate that the Supreme Court issued the TRO at a time when hundreds of thousands of commuters need the Angkas service to beat the worsening holiday traffic,” Medrana rued.
Angkas rider-partner Romeo Maglungsod, Chairman of Solid Manila Riders Club, denounced the harassment of the LTFRB and decried his sudden loss of livelihood.
“Napakasakit po ng nangyari sa amin. Sa isang iglap, bigla na lang kaming nawalan ng hanapbuhay,” Maglungsod said. “Hindi man lang kami nabigyan ng abiso. Biglang-bigla. Kung kelan magpa-Pasko, saka pa kami natanggalan ng disenteng kabuhayan. Ang saklap naman ng aginaldo ng LTFRB,” Maglungsod added.
Also present during the presscon were Jobert Bolano of MRO, Rod Cruz of Arangkada and Ryan Rillera of Taguig Spartan.
Royeca made it clear to the media present that Angkas since it started their operation is proud of their 99.997% safety record – a feat even greater than what a condom brand can claim and much higher than all non-Angkas motorcycle riders in the country.
He attributed this to Angkas’ strict screening and training process which is anchored on the company’s commitment to the safety of all riders and their passengers.
Based on their figures, clearly Angkas or a well-regulated Motorcycle Taxi is a better alternative – the question is why are DOTR and LTFRB against it?
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