The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is putting thousands of commuters in danger and thousands of motorbike drivers out of work because It had imposed new limits for the extended test run of motorcycle taxis “without proper consultation or debate,” Senator Imee Marcos said.

The DOTr has conducted a series of closed-door meetings since November on the second six-month phase of testing the road worthiness and safety of motorbikes as taxis, which started on December 23.

“The DOTr shut out the active participation of members of the Senate, House of Representatives, PNP and MMDA.”

However, Marcos said that the DOTr shut out the active participation of members of the Senate, House of Representatives, Philippine National Police, Metro Manila Development Authority, motorbike ride-hailing companies, and commuter associations.

The rules of the extended pilot test were approved only by an exclusive technical working group headed by retired police general Antonio Gardiola Jr., with representatives from the DOTr and its line agencies, including the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and Land Transportation Office.

“This is irregular.”

“Iregular ito dahil ang main purpose ng pilot testing ay para maglatag ng batas na hindi lang magtitiyak ng fair competition kundi ang kaligtasan din ng riding public,” the legislator said.

The lawmaker filed Senate Bill 409 in July, seeking to legitimize and regulate motorbikes for hire as public utility vehicles and to encourage revenue generation for the unemployed and for the local government units that will supervise them.

One of the “arbitrary rules” that Marcos said will compromise passenger safety is limiting the total number of test-run participants in Metro Manila to 30,000 motorbike drivers, who will come in equal numbers from Angkas – the only participant in the pilot test’s first phase – and two new ride-hailing companies.

“Yung sinasabi na fair competition ay posibleng siya pang maglagay sa panganib sa mga commuter dahil maraming makakasali sa pilot test na mga driver na hindi natin tiyak kung may sapat na kasanayan,” the lady senator said.

“Lumalabas na maaaring ang bagong 20,000 motorcycle taxis na sasali sa pilot test ay posibleng walang sapat na experience at safety record na meron ang Angkas,” she added.

Angkas has a total of some 27,000 drivers, of whom 17,000 will lose their jobs if it is allotted only 10,000 test-run participants, according to George Royeca, the company’s head of regulatory and public affairs.


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