QUEZON CITY, Jan. 21 (PIA)--The Inter-Agency Technical Working Group (TWG) on the Motorcycle Taxi Service Program has announced on Monday (Jan 20) that it is terminating the pilot study of the said project.
The TWG opted to terminate the study because of legal impediments subjected to them which hampers the implementation of the progeram, rendering it ineffective to make a thorough evaluation and assessment of the Motorcycle as public transport.
In a statement, the TWG said the consequence of such termination would mean that all Motorcycles engaged in public transport are now considered illegal, as there is still no enabling law which would override or amend existing ones that state the strict prohibition of Motorcycles for public transportation use.
However, in the Senate hearing, several senators and other Motorcycle stakeholders raised their concerns on the impact of the termination, and TWG recognized and appreciated these sentiments.
It is therefore convening soonest, and will also have a consultation meeting with all of the participants in the pilot study, together with resource persons and experts, to finalize a decision and eventual direction on how best to proceed with the Motorcycle Taxi Service Program.
The Motorcycle Taxi Pilot Study aims to determine the viability and safety of motorcycles as taxis or alternative modes of public transportation.
In its recommendation to Congress, the TWG stressed that the earlier issuance of a 20-day TRO by the Quezon City RTC Branch 223, which temporarily prevented it from implementing Section 10 of the revised guidelines with regards the imposition of the rider cap, had greatly compromised the integrity of the study's data gathering design.
The rider cap of 30,000 riders in Metro Manila and 9,000 riders in Cebu, aimed to divide equally among the three participating motorcycle transport companies in the study - ANGKAS, JOYRIDE and MOVE-It - the number of participating riders to generate a wider field of commuter ride experience input.
"As a result of the 20-day TRO, the integrity of the study was compromised as the data gathering design set by the TWG was hampered and allowed the unfettered entry of motorcycle taxis, eschewing the data gathering design of the TWG which was premised on a 30,000 riders sample size in Metro Manila and 9,000 riders in Cebu," the TWG said in its recommendation.
"Without the cap or the limit set on the number of participating riders as stated under Section 10 of the revised guidelines, the TWG cannot accurately collect data, and as such, compromising the integrity of its study," the TWG added.
In addition, the TWG said the pending cases lodged by ANGKAS before the Quezon City RTC Branch 223 and the Mandaluyong City RTC Branch 212, questionning the study's revised guidelines, have also hampered the implementation of the study.
"The TWG foresees its inability to gather accurate data to enable it to render any recommendation at the end of the pilot project. For this reason, the TWG hereby invokes Section 13 of the revised guidelines and recommends that the pilot implementation be terminated," the TWG said in its recommendation.
The TWG conducted an initial study on the viability of using motorcycles as taxis or as an alternative mode of transportation for six months from June 23, 2019 to December 26, 2019.
Initially participating in the study was the ANGKAS with its 27,000 riders.
Following the six months of evaluation, it was recommended that the study be extended to another three months from December 23, 2019 to March 23, 2020 with a reorganization of the TWG.
The members of the TWG were tasked to review, amend and revise existing guidelines and issue the necessary implementing rules and regulations in relation to the operation of motorcycle taxis.
For the extended period of the study, the TWG decided to increase the number of participating riders to 39,000 to assure that more commuters will generate feedback on the study. For the extended run, the TWG also decided to allow more motorcycle transport companies to join.
ANGKAS was then joined in the extended study by JOYRIDE and MOVE-It. A cap on the number of participating riders per transport company was also enforced to assure that there will be no monopoly of commuter experience.
The TWG also decided that the the extended run of the study be conducted only in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.
Meanwhile, the TWG also lashed at ANGKAS violating key points in the study's implementing guidelines which have gravely affected the conduct of the study.
The most glaring of these violations, according to the TWG, was the operation of ANGKAS outside of the identified study areas of Metro Manila and Metro Cebu for economic gains.
This, according to the TWG has affected the data gathering process of the study.
According to the TWG, there are validated reports and apprehensions made by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board in Cagayan De Oro, various social media accounts, and, admissions made by George Royeca, Head of Regulatory and Public Affairs of Angkas on national television, which confirmed that ANGKAS was operating outside of Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.
"The TWG is mandated to conduct a study on the viability of the motorcycle as an alternative and safe mode of public transportation and not to make a study on job generation for riders. Competition has no place in this study as this is being done to gather data and not to determine the viability for profit or income.
The TWG added that ANGKAS also did not reveal to the riding public that it is not a majority-owned corporation, which is a violation of Philippine laws.
"Angkas also did not disclose to the riding public that DBDOYC, its registered corporation name, is 99 percent foreign-owned, which is in violation of Philippine laws that common carriers should be at-least 60 percent owned by Filipino citizens. Records from the Securities and Exchange Commission have revealed that DBDOYC or Angkas is 99.996 percent owned by Angeline Xiwen Tham, a Singaporean, with P9.8 million in subscribed shares. Tham is also listed at the SEC as president of DBDOYC," the TWG said.
For its violations of the study's implementing guidelines and for its failure to publicly disclose its foreign-ownership, the TWG has also recommended the blacklisting of ANGKAS/DBDOYC Inc., and its incorporators from applying and operating as a motorcycle taxi service provider should a law be enacted amending Republic Act 4136 and other related laws allowing motorcycles as public utility vehicles.
"The blacklisting of DBDOYC a.k.a. Angkas and its incorporators from further participating as a motorcycle ride-hailing mode of transportation in the event that RA 4136 be amended, as they have blatantly exhibited defiance of mandated guidelines set by the TWG to cover the study and the extended pilot run," the TWG said. (I-ACT TWG))