Law to regulate motorcycle taxis to follow

There appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for the legalization of motorcycle taxis. Yesterday, the House of Representatives conducted a Congressional Hearing with the Committee on Metro Manila Development. In that meeting, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), headed by Secretary, Arthur Tugade, was given 2 weeks to formulate a Department Order on the regulation of motorcycle taxis.

Also present at the hearing were Cebu City Mayor, Tommy Osmena (a staunch supporter of the legalization of motorcycle taxis), former Angkas motorcycle riders, motorcycle rider groups, the PNP - Highway Patrol Group, and some members of the congress.

During the hearing, the DOTr argued that motorcycle taxis are unsafe for public transportation, citing the numerous motorcycle accidents from statistics. Committee Chairman, Winnie Castelo, asked the PNP-HPG to verify how many accidents were recorded, related to motorcycle taxis. The HPG stated that there were zero recorded accidents relating to two-wheeled transports.

Cebu City Mayor, Osmena, also raised a point that by outlawing motorcycle taxis, the riding public may be encouraged to patronize illegal and unregulated habal-habal services in the absence of regulated motorcycle taxi services. Osmena applauded the directive, exclaiming that, “There is still light at the end of the tunnel” for motorcycle taxis and the thousands who depend on it.

Angkas has had a long and protracted battle with the law. It operated briefly until it was shut down by the DOTr, citing its operations as illegal. Last year, the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court issued a temporary injunction against the DOTr and LTFRB's Temporary Restraining Order against Angkas, effectively allowing it to operate. More recently, a Supreme Court decision ruled that Angkas' operations were still illegal and ordered its immediate shut down.