Senator Grace Poe has recently filed Senate Bill 128, or “An act allowing and regulating the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles, amending for this purpose Republic Act No. 4136, otherwise known as the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code, and for other purposes”.

According to the proposed law, “the state recognizes the role of safe, reliable, and affordable public transportation” and that “the state hereby allows use and regulation of motorcycles as an alternative mode of public transportation”.

Republic Act 4136, which was signed into law in 1964, states that (single) motorcycles are not allowed to be used as a mode of public transport or to be classified as “for hire”. The filing of SB 128 amends those provisions to allow motorcycles to be used as such and to be regulated by concerned government agencies, particularly the LTO and the LTFRB.

If SB 128 is passed into law, more than 27,000 motorcycle taxi drivers and operators, even encompassing habal-habal (unregistered motorcycles for hire, typically in the province) will be regulated by the government with clear guidelines in reference to the roadworthiness of motorcycles, fare setting, licensing requirements, routes and fines for violators of the said act.

Last month, motorcycle taxis have finally been given a green light by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to do a pilot run which will run for six months. During this pilot implementation, ride-hailing platforms, such as Angkas, are required to submit data involving road crash statistics, passenger complaints, distance traveled and total collected fare.

A bill to legalize motorcycle taxis has already been passed in Congress. If this Senate bill is passed, both bills will be discussed and unified in a coming bicameral, before being finalized and signed by the President.