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DOTr blinks first in Angkas row: Study eyed despite SC ruling


POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

It was the Department of Transportation (DOTr) which blinked first in its face-off with motorcycle transport service Angkas.

The DOTr has announced that it has formed a technical working group (TWG) which will study the possibility of allowing motorcycles as public transport vehicles.

“The law is the law, and the Executive will not be the first to break it. But we at the DOTr know how to listen. So even if the SC (Supreme Court) has yet to issue a final ruling, we are already forming a TWG to study the prospect of motorcycles serving as public transportation,” said DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade.

At the moment, the DOTr managed to secure from the SC a temporary restraining order (TRO) which halted the operations of Angkas.

Angkas operator DBDOYC has already filed before the SC a motion seeking to lift the TRO.

Thou DOTr filed the petition to prevent injustice against its regulatory powers, DBDOYC argued “DOTr itself has admitted that respondent DBDOYC is not within its jurisdiction and therefore is estopped from now asserting the contrary.”

DBDOYC reminded that motorcycles are not included in the DOTr’s Department Order (DO) No. 2015-11 which requires a transport network company to get accreditation from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

It pointed out it only provides Angkas software “whereby willing and able drivers and passengers mat privately contract motorcycle ride-sharing transactions” and is “not a public utility and not a common carrier.”

“Hence, private respondent did not see any legal basis to accredit with the LTFRB. Upon realizing this, LTFRB charged its position against private respondent’s business,” DBDOYC said.

“Initially, it considered private respondent’s business illegal for lack of LTFRB accreditation but later abandoned this by claiming that motorcycles may not be used to fetch and bring paying passengers to their destinations on alleged safety concerns. The change in position however does not detract from the fact that petitioners, under DO No. 2015-11, officially recognize that the TNC industry is not within the current regulatory framework of our transportation laws,” it pointed out.

Since the DOTr attribute to Ankas road accidents and deaths, DBDOYC said this would mean then “the only way to prevent the alleged potential harm and injury conjured by petitioners is to ban all tricycles and motorcycles nationwide.”

“Out of approximately 5.8 Million rides transacted on the respondent’s application platform since it resumed operations in September 2m8. ZERO PERCENT (o%) had resulted in death or coma, ZERO PERCENT (o%) had resulted in severe injury, and ZERO POINT ZERO ZERO THREE (o 003%) had resulted in minor and major scratches, bruises, or abrasions,” DBDOYC boasted.

“The respondent’s accident rates are phenomenally lower than the national figures cited by the petitioners which are at past fifty (50%). If anything, this illustrates that rather than posing a threat to public safety as alleged by the petitioners, the respondent’s business model of extensive partner-driver training prior to accreditation, intensive road safety education, and comprehensive stakeholder support48, is actually beneficial to public safety, public welfare, and public interest,” it argued.

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