By Ben Rosario
Angkas, a motorcycle ride-hailing service, habal-habal, and other similar two-wheel public conveyance operations may soon be legalized after the House of Representatives passed a measure to allow their operations.
Congressmen also approved on second reading House Bill 8885 or the Student Fare Discount Act seeking to institutionalize the fare privilege for all students.
First to be passed during Wednesday’s session was HB 8959 or the “Motorcycles-for-Hire Act” which consolidates six separate legislative proposals that would authorize the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board to legalize the operation of motorcycles as public utility vehicles.
Authors of the measure included Reps. Raul del Mar (LP, Cebu); Rozzano Rufino Biazon (PDP-Laban, Muntinlupa City) and Pedro Acharon (NUP, General Santos City).
Endorsed for approval by the House Committee on Transportation, proposes to amend Republic Act No. 4136 to include “motorcycle-for-hire” among the modes of public transportation.
The bill sponsored by Catanduanes Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento, defines motorcycles-for-hire as any two-wheeled motor vehicle that may be registered with the Land Transportation Office as for hire and may be used as a commercial vehicle to transport passengers and goods.
Moves to legalize motorcycles followed a recent decision by the LTFRB to disallow the operation of Angkas, as the agency pointed out that it has no authority to grant operators certificates of public conveyance.
Under the bill, operators are required to provide insurance coverage for the driver, rider and third party.
The LTFRB is mandated to determine, prescribe and adjust fares rates and other charges for the operation of motorcycles-for-hire. It is also directed to prescribe routes, giving priority to higher-capacity vehicles or mass transit systems in determining route rationalization.
HB 8885 consolidates nine separate legislative proposals filed by Reps. Alfred Vargas (PDP-Laban, Quezon City); Winston Castelo (PDP-Laban, QC); Bellaflor Angara-Castillo (LDP, Aurora) and Eric Olivarez (NP, Paranaque City)
Vargas said the bill mandates the grant of 20 percent discount to students on the regular domestic fares of all kinds of public transportation utilities used in land, rail, sea, and air.
Vargas explained that students may avail of the discounted fair upon presentation of a validated card or current validated enrolment form supported by proof of identity.
He stressed that the discount covers the entire period of a student’s enrolment, including weekends and holidays.
Under the bill, a student will have the right to choose between the promotional fare or the discounted fare offered by transport firms. It bars a student from availing of double discounts, said Vargas.
Public transportation utility operators may recover unrealized income brought by discounts by claiming the amount as a tax deduction for the year the discounts were granted.