By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
Members of the motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas held a “unity ride” on Sunday to decry the temporary restraining order (TRO) of the Supreme Court that stops them from taking passengers.
Clad in black and blue uniforms, thousands of Angkas riders honked their horns as they rode along EDSA.
George Royeca, Angkas head of public affairs, said in a press conference on Sunday they will abide by the restraining order.
“We will comply with the TRO. We will follow the TRO. We are not defying the TRO, just to make clarifications,” Royeca said.
In a decision dated Dec. 5, the court granted the plea for a TRO of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DOTR) to keep Angkas off the road until it acquires a congressional franchise.
Following the release of the order on Dec. 12, LTFRB directed its law enforcement units to “apprehend and impound” Angkas motorcycles that are still taking passengers.
Royeca said that if Angkas riders were apprehended, they should “follow and respect the authorities.”
Angkas officials said they will submit their comment on the TRO to the Supreme Court today, Monday, and hope the final decision of the court will favor Angkas.
LTFRB maintains that Angkas motorcycles are “colorum” – public utility vehicles (PUV) operating without a franchise.
Royeca said they are puzzled by claims of its critics that Angkas passengers are not insured.
He said bikers and passengers have accident insurance amounting to P30,000 for medical reimbursement, and P200,000 if there is a fatality.
“Safety is our primary priority,” he said.
David Medrana, head of Angkas operations, debunked the claims that its riders were untrained and have no license.
“We are expert in driver education,” Medrana said.
In a statement released on Dec. 12, Angkas said it was “saddened” by the decision of the Supreme Court and that the TRO puts the livelihood of its 25,000 biker-partners “at risk.”
In the latest data of Angkas, at least 60,000 bikers have finished a one-day training on road safety.
“What we need is regulation. What we need is education, and not prohibition,” Royeca said.