More than 23,000 Angkas riders converged simultaneously in Cebu City and Quezon City not to stage a protest, but to celebrate the tremendous outpouring of support from various sectors for the beleaguered motorcycle-taxi company. Despite the threat of intermittent rain, the Angkas riders attended a free thanksgiving concert and a morning prayer rally at the Quezon Memorial Circle and Abellana Sports Complex, respectively. Attendees wore their company-issued uniforms and helmets, and also brought along members of their family. Mayor Tomas Osmeña, a long-time advocate of motorcycle taxis, led the huge gathering of Angkas riders in Cebu.
To refute the government’s claim that Angkas motorcycle taxi is a dangerous mode of transportation, the riders wore T-shirts that said: ‘Angkas 99.997% Safety Record: Safer than condom.’
What’s more, celebrities Nadine Lustre, Bianca King, Gab Valenciano, Phoemela Baranda, and Fabio Ide showed up to openly declare their support for Angkas’ 27,000 riders who recently became jobless. Rapper Andrew E also brought the house down when he unleashed his classic piece ‘Humanap ka ng Panget,’ turning the event into one big karaoke session.
Other showbiz personalities, whether motorcycle enthusiasts or not, expressed their support through video messages shown during the concert. Among them were Dingdong Dantes, Matteo Guidicelli, Tim Yap, Rovilson Fernandez, Marc Nelson, Kim Atienza, Myrtie Sarasa, Sabbie Rodriguez, Shawn Yao, and Jinno Rufino.
“The celebrities are not here to support Angkas. They’re here to sympathize with the thousands of Angkas riders who’ve lost their jobs,” says Angkas head of regulatory and public affairs George Royeca. “They also have friends and coworkers who ride Angkas but are now having difficulty to get a ride. The celebrities feel the brunt as well.”
To ease the tension and stress caused by the recent temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court that favors the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Angkas riders were treated to a live band performance by Mayonnaise, Quest, and Ex-Battalion. The concert started at 6pm and lasted until 2am.
Heeding the commuters’ mounting calls for practical yet safe public transportation, some lawmakers have finally joined the Angkas bandwagon, namely, Congressmen Winston Castelo, Cristal Bagatsing, Rodel Batocabe, Johnny Pimentel, and Xavier Jesus Romualdo.
Can this be considered vox populi?
Phoemela Baranda and Fabio Ide
Angkas thanksgiving concert in Quezon City
Angkas prayer rally in Cebu City