The House Committee on Public Transportation led by Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento has approved a resolution that reportedly allows two ride-hailing motorcycle companies to resume operations. This was announced by Presidential spokesman Harry Roque on his social media account.
“Nilabas na nga po ng House Committee on Transportation ang resolusyon na pupuwede na maging basehan para ang Department of Transportation (DOTr) naman po ay pumayag na muling bumiyahe ang Angkas at JoyRide,” said Roque.
Roque was referring to House Resolution No. 1286 entitled, Resolution urging the Inter-Agency Task Force for [the Management of] Emerging Infectious Diseases, the National Task Force Against COVID-19, and the Department of Transportation to extend the conduct of the motorcycle taxi pilot study program with the end in view of gathering enough data in crafting a measure for its regulation and respond to the need for the provision of an additional mode of transportation.
Prior to this, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said that government-accredited motorcycle-taxi companies need the approval of Sarmiento’s committee before they can actually ply the streets of select urban areas, particularly in Metro Manila.
Since the easing up of the quarantine policy in Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces in July, the House panel has recommended the resumption of motorcycle-taxi operations under the DOTr’s pilot run. The result of the experimental run will be the basis of legislators in coming up with comprehensive data on the safety, comfort, convenience, and economic viability of motorcycle taxis. The data will be their basis in crafting a law that will legalize motorcycles-for-hire in the country.
During the past hearings, Sarmiento pointed out that the technical working group (TWG) formed by the DOTr to monitor and gather data from the previous trial operations of Angkas, JoyRide, and Move It failed to submit results because of the start of the COVID-19 crisis in March. Prior to that, more than 69,000 riders from the three companies had been allowed to ferry passengers in Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Cagayan de Oro City.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) secretary Eduardo Año is among the government officials who has endorsed the return of motorcycle taxis, although he stresses the need for riders to strictly observe health protocols, and that the use of backriding shields will be mandatory for the riders and passengers to keep them safe from virus infection.
Año pointed out over the weekend, however, that although he highly recommends that passengers have their own helmet, this practice is not an official government policy. He reminded motorcycle-taxi riders to regularly sanitize and clean passenger helmets after every use. Either full- or open-face helmets must be used by both rider and passenger, as long as the lids are equipped with full-size visors.
Although the House Committee resolution did not specify which motorcycle-taxi companies will again be allowed to participate in the third round of the pilot run, Roque already named Angkas and JoyRide as participants. Did he just accidentally omit Move It from the list?
NOTE: This article first appeared on TopBikes.ph. Minor edits have been made.