Angkas: DOTr’s technical working group offers a ray of hope

Here’s one positive way to start the New Year
by Aris Ilagan | Jan 1, 2019
PHOTO: Aris Ilagan

Was the downpour during New Year’s eve a sign of positive things to come for Angkas?

Last night’s grand celebration, dubbed ‘BGC X Taguig Pulse 2019: The Year-End Countdown,’ was co-presented by Angkas and co-hosted by Nadine Lustre. Let’s not forget Lustre was among the popular celebrities who openly expressed support for the embattled motorcycle-taxi company, along with some legislators and prominent individuals.

Angkas says the event is its modest gesture of appreciation for the commuting public’s faith in the company, which is entangled in a drawn-out struggle to gain acceptance and recognition from the government.

Amid the gloomy skies and intermittent rains, revelers trooped to Bonifacio Global City to party as they all hoped for a brighter, prosperous year ahead. Angkas officials and riders were among those in an upbeat mood after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) decided to form a technical working group that will study the legality, efficiency and safety aspects of its operations.

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“I think they did that because of the clamor of the people,” says George Royeca, head of Angkas regulatory and public affairs division.

In the next few days, workers will be back on the streets, with most of them relying on public transportation. Angkas is hoping for brighter days ahead from the series of TWG dialogues to be initiated by DOTr secretary Arthur Tugade.

Tugade’s decision to form a study group for Angkas has opened the doors for negotiations between concerned government agencies and the company.

“The TWC is another route we would take. We will exhaust any possible avenues. Lahat po kakausapin naming para maitaguyod naming ang kabuhayan ng mga rider at kapakapanan ng mga commuter,” Royeca emphasized.

The year 2018 was like a roller-coaster ride for Angkas, with endless saber-rattling from both the LTFRB and Angkas. On September 6, Angkas riders rejoiced after the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court (RTC) granted its plea for preliminary injunction against a government order to shut down its operations.

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They were only able to resume operations almost a year after the LTFRB ordered a crackdown against Angkas riders for failing to come up with a business permit. Angkas resumed its operations on September 6 with some 16,000 riders. And when the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order against the Mandaluyong City RTC decision a few weeks ago and once again halted Angkas operations, the company had already accumulated some 27,000 riders under its wings.  A big majority of them lost their jobs, while a small faction shifted to the Angkas Padala delivery service, according to Royeca.

Royeca believes the TWG is a perfect venue for Angkas to highlight the efficiency of its service and its impressive road safety record during the three months of operations.

However, Angkas executives have yet to determine if they will be included in the technical working group.

“We hope we will be a part of it so we can share our experience on the matter,” Royeca pointed out.

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We pray everything turns out well in the series of TWG meetings, so that commuters turn out to be the biggest winners as we usher in 2019.

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PHOTO: Aris Ilagan
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