otorcycle taxi riders have gotten a new reprieve as a QC Regional Trial Court granted a 20-day temporary restraining order against the riders cap imposed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that limited the number of Angkas bikers to 10,000 in Manila and 3,000 in Cebu.
Citing the irreparable injury that would be suffered by the bikers if the number of bikers is limited to 30,000 in Metro Manila and 9,000 for Metro Cebu, to be divided equally among the providers, is not restrained and considering the urgency of the situation, the QC RTC Branch 223 issued the TRO enjoining the LTFRB from implementing the riders cap for a period of 20 days.
It may be recalled that the Technical Working Group of the LTFRB, which was overseeing the implementation of the pilot program for motorcyle taxis, issued on December 19 the Revised Guidelines practically slashing the number of the 27,000 existing Angkas bikers to 10,000 in Metro Manila. This was met with uproar by netizens and commuters who have come to rely on Angkas for their daily commute.
Also, the QC TRO affirms the stand that several congressmen as well as the Philippine Competition Committee (PCC) took in previous weeks.
In a statement before the previous year ended, House Committee on Transportation chair Edgar Sarmiento aired his concern about the suspension of motorcycle taxi services. “Habang hindi pa naaayos ang efficiency ng mass transportation, kailangan natin talaga ang support muna ng isang sektor kung saan tinutulungan nila ang mamamayan na umabot naman sa pinupuntahan nila sa madaling panahon,” he stated.
For his part, Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, previously slammed the LTFRB for its arbitrary decision to drastically reduce the number of bikers of the ride-hailing firm Angkas, calling it an anti-consumer and anti-competitive behavior. “Why don’t they just open the market to new players? And why the arbitrary reduction of licenses at the expense of consumers’ choice and welfare?” Sarmienta stressed.
In an interview, Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) commissioner Johannes Bernabe said that forcing Angkas to displace 17,000 riders will take away what was rightfully obtained by the company.
“Being big per se is not necessarily bad. It’s the abuse of that dominant position [that’s bad],” Bernabe was reported to have said. “Angkas grew out of its own efforts,” Bernabe said in the interview. “In a sense, you are taking away what Angkas has worked hard on obtaining, which is a driver base,” he added.