NEW LIFE FOR ANGKAS
Osmeña wants city to take over operation of motorcycle ride booking service to ease traffic
Wisdom Lazaga wakes up at 5 a.m. on weekdays to avoid the gridlock during rush hour.But no matter how early he gets out of bed, the 23-year-old second-year Information Technology student of one of the universities in Cebu City would still come to class late at times even if his house in Barangay Pardo in Cebu City is ijust 7 kilometers from his school.
“Grabe gyud kaayo ang traffic (The traffic is too much),” said Lazaga.He, however, found help in Angkas, a popular motorcycle ride booking service that started offering commuters an easy glide through the dense traffic in July 2017.
Riding on one of the Angkas motorcycles cut down Lazaga’s travel time from at least an hour to less than 30 minutes.“Importante gyud kaayo ang Angkas. It’s just a click away. Safe siya. Gamit kaayo ilabi na sa rush hour. Walay overpricing, unya ang drivers duna gyuy professional license (Angkas is so important. It’s just a click away. It’s so useful especially during rush hour. There’s no overpricing, and the drivers have professional drivers’ licenses),” he said.
But the convenience was temporary.Angkas officially suspended its operations last Saturday, a little over a week after transportation authorities temporarily shut it down for operating without a permit.
As early as January this year, when Angkas started operating in Manila, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) already gave a warning that their operation was considered “colorum,” since they did not have the necessary franchise to operate.
Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña earlier didn’t want to interfere until complaints started coming in, protesting the cancellation of Angkas’ operation.
Now, the chief executive of Cebu City wants to take over Angkas’ operations.
“Many people have been texting me about Angkas. Since Angkas is providing a real service to the public, the City Government will be studying how to take over Angkas’ operations by hiring their administrative personnel. We will provide Angkas’ service, hopefully using the current app. We will do this for free,” said Osmeña in his Facebook post.
In a press conference, he further explained that the city will hire and adopt the company’s management services and use their online booking system.
Since the city government is not capable of doing it, Osmeña said Angkas will have to provide the application.As soon as Angkas can provide the city with a proposal, he said it will soon act as “dispatchers” of the motorcycles.
Should the city hire Angkas’ services, Osmeña said the company will no longer get a share from the drivers’ earnings.
The drivers will get 100 percent of their daily earnings, he said.“We will hire their consultancy services, but they (Angkas) will not collect from the drivers. Nobody will collect from the drivers,” he explained.
In its previous arrangement, Angkas gets 20 percent from every booking of its riders. Osmeña stressed that he was accommodating Angkas for the Cebuanos and to help ease the worsening traffic situation.
“Many people are asking to continue (the services of Angkas) and people have been pleading with me and I keep answering, ‘I’ll see what I can do.’ Maybe they think I am just paying lip service. No. I am serious. This is what the people want. This is what the people need,” he said.
“Anything that has to do in providing services for the constituents of Cebu City, that is what I am concerned about,” he added.
There are currently around 2,000 motorcycle drivers who are connected with Angkas. Osmeña said he is also planning to legalize and regulate the operations of habal-habal or motorcycle-for-hire drivers in the city.
Ahmed Cuizon, LTFRB director in Central Visayas, said he had yet to get the full details about Osmeña’s plan to take over the operations of Angkas in the city.
“I haven’t come across his statement yet. Why don’t I listen to it first and understand?”
he told CDN over the phone.Cuizon said he also had to seek the guidance of their central office in Manila on the proposal of Osmeña.But he stressed that Angkas remains illegal since it has no authority to operate.
“Like Uber and Grab, it (Angkas) needs authorization from LTFRB. Without that, they could not operate. That’s how it works. From the start, we believe that they (Angkas) lack the authority to operate,” Cuizon said.
The LTFRB has repeatedly announced that Angkas’ operation is considered “colorum” as it has no authority to operate.Angkas does not fall under the transport network company category since the LTFRB could not issue franchises to two-wheeled vehicles.
Under Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, motorcycles could not be used to transport passengers for a fee.
Cebu Daily News tried but failed to reach Land Transportation Office in Central Visayas Director Alita Pulga through the phone on Monday.
For now, the LTFRB has teamed up with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to provide livelihood opportunities for drivers who might find themselves without a job.
“We understand that many of them depend on their (Angkas) operations for a living. So right now, LTFRB and DOLE are into talks on how to help these people. As soon as everything will be finalized (by our central office), it will cascade down to the regions,” Cuizon said.
Two opposition Cebu City councilors, who are both lawyers, have reservations over the plan of Osmeña to take over Angkas’ operation.
While he agreed that Angkas provides real services to the Cebuanos, Cebu City Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia said the project must be studied further.
“The government’s primary duty is to provide basic services to the community and not engage in a private business enterprise,” he said.Councilor Jocelyn “Joy” Pesquera shared the same sentiment.
“I suggest that the City Legal Office study it considering that it will have implications if the drivers will collect fees,” she said.
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