MANILA — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has created a technical working group (TWG) that will review the issue of making motorcycles as a mode of public transport.
In a statement, the DOTr said the TWG will consist of the DOTr, Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), Philippine National Police – Highway Patrol Group (PNP-HPG), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and representatives of the Senate, House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations, and law schools.
Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has directed the creation of the body amid the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court earlier this month to stop the operations of motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas.
“Naiintindihan natin ang pagtangkilik ng ilan nating kababayan sa mga motorsiklo bilang public transport. Pero tandaan natin na may batas laban dito, at may TRO pa ang Korte Suprema. Ang batas ay batas, at hindi po mauuna ang ehekutibo sa paglabag nito. Pero nakikinig ang DOTr. Kaya kahit wala pang desisyon ang SC, bumubuo na tayo ng TWG para pag-aralan ang posibilidad na maging public transport ang mga motorsiklo (We understand that some of our commuters are patronizing motorcycles as public transport. But we must remember that there is a law against it and a TRO was issued by the Supreme Court. The law is the law and the executive will not be the first to violate it. But the DOTr is listening. That is why even if the Supreme Court has yet to come up with its decision, we are forming a TWG to study the possibility of making motorcycles as public transport),” Tugade said.
The TWG will conduct deliberations on various issues covering the capability of the motorcycles and drivers for public transport service which are: the types of motorcycles to be permitted; acceptable travel speed of motorcycles for hire; whether to allow the motorcycles on all roads or be limited only to secondary roads or areas not serviced by large vehicles such as buses or trucks; seat and helmet requirements and training for motorcycle bikers that will register as public utility vehicle drivers.
The Supreme Court issued a TRO last December 5 against the decision of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court to interfere with Angkas’ operations.
It prevented the implementation of the writ of preliminary injunction issued by Judge Carlos Valenzuela of Mandaluyong RTC Branch 213 last August in favor of Angkas, which prohibited the DOTr and LTFRB from apprehending Angkas bikers.
Tugade has ordered the LTFRB to apprehend Angkas bikers, who deliberately defy the order of the high court.
Angkas bikers and operators proven to have continued their service will be meted a PHP6,000 fine and to have their vehicles impounded for three months. They will also be blacklisted from securing a franchise from the LTFRB.
Under Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, motorcycles are not allowed to operate as public transport services.
Various stakeholders in the transportation sector are pushing for the amendment of this law to enable motorcycles to provide public transport to commuters. (PNA)