Believing there's strength in numbers, officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Angkas, a motorcycle taxi company, have forged a memorandum of agreement to join forces in protecting communities against lawless elements.
The PNP, under the leadership of Director General Oscar Albayalde, has always considered the motorcycle community as a 'force multiplier' in the fight against crime and the effort to create safer communities. Angkas will also be a partner of the PNP in promoting road safety.
Region 10 (Northern Mindanao) has been chosen over the National Capital Region (NCR) for the pilot run of the new project. PNP-Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG) Region 10 officer-in-charge Supt. Samson B. Belmonte and Angkas Region 10 director Angeline Tham Xiwen led the signing of the memorandum of agreement at Camp Evangelista in Cagayan de Oro City.
But before Angkas riders are issued an identification card by the PNP-HPG, each member of this app-based motorcycle taxi service shall attend seminars and undergo training on road safety and security, to be conducted by the police unit.
The qualified Angkas riders will then be tasked to provide vital information that will aid the police force in its drive against illegal activities, particularly anti-carnapping operations. According to the agreement, the PNP-HPG shall treat the information provided by Angkas riders with full confidentiality to ensure the riders' safety.
The PNP-HPG has also warned Angkas riders that they shall not use their connection to the police to engage in illegal activities, adding that punitive actions will immediately be taken against riders who violate the terms of the agreement.
There are around 19,000 Angkas riders in the country, most of them concentrated in Metro Manila. Angkas officials, however, said they are planning to increase their workforce to 100,000 riders by the end of 2018. All applicants are carefully screened and trained for motorcycle-taxi duties before they are hired, we have learned.
Angkas resumed its operations last month after the Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court issued a preliminary injunction that effectively prevents the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) from interfering with its operations and apprehending its drivers.