Blacklisting Angkas CEO to spook foreign investors, lawmaker warns
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Imee Marcos on Thursday rejected a fellow lawmaker’s proposal to declare as persona non grata the Singaporean chief operating officer (CEO) of motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas, as it might scare away foreign investors.
“Well nagulat ako ng konti kasi siyempre ayaw natin ng ganun, kung yung mga foreign investor bina-blacklist natin o ipe-persona non grata, baka wala nang pumasok sa Pilipinas. Wag naman ganun,” Marcos, chairman of the Senate Economic Affairs Committee, said in a weekly media forum.
(I was a little surprised. If we blacklist foreign investors, others may be discouraged from investing in the country.)
In his resolution, Sen. Aquilino”Koko” Pimentel III sought to declare as “persona non grata” Angkas CEO Angeline Tham.
“Tham is merely a guest of our country, yet she is already acting like an oligarch which she seems hell-bent on becoming at our expense,” Pimentel’s resolution read.
“Her acts of deriding our sovereign laws is high-handed, arrogant and irresponsible, which should not be countenanced but condemned to the fullest,” he added.
Pimentel filed the resolution on January 16, 2020 or days before Angkas said it would drop its court case against the Department of Transportation (DOTr) technical working group which is conducting a pilot study on the operation of motorcycle taxis.
“Tignan natin kung papano. Kung naglabag sila e di ayusin nila. We are now in the process of negotiating. LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) is now talking to all the players and the stakeholders,” Marcos said.
One of the things Pimentel had pointed out in his resolution was that Tham initially owned 99.996 percent of Angkas, which he said was a violation of the Philippines’ ownership laws.
Angkas’ chief transport advocate George Royeca, however, already said issues on ownership have already been rectified, with him now owning 60 percent of the company.
Marcos said the Senate should also look into the ownership of all the ride-hailing firms participating in the government’s pilot program for motorcycle taxis.
“I think in the entire process, you should be transparent…Ang LTFRB na dapat ang magsusuri ng lahat yan. Pero sa palagay ko let’s open the playing field. Let’s level it, wala nang palakasan at alamin natin kung sino talaga yung beneficial owner ng bawat isa,” Marcos said.
(I think in the entire process you should be transparent. The LTFRB should be the one to look into that. For me, let’s open the playing field. Let’s level it, no more ‘palakasan’ system and we should know for sure who is the beneficial owner of all the companies).
Pimentel was earlier linked to another transport app company, JoyRide PH.
This after JoyRide executives addressed allegations that came out in social media that the senator had extended a letter of the company to Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade to include its bid in the pilot test of motorcycle taxis.
Pimentel admitted he endorsed JoyRide’s letter join the first pilot test run for motorcycle taxis, saying there was a need to diminish a climate of monopoly in the blossoming motorcycle ride-hailing industry.
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