LTFRB orders arrest of Angkas bikes still operating

MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered law enforcers Wednesday, December 12, to apprehend Angkas bikers and impound their motorcycles if they continue operating as public utility vehicles.

LTFRB resolution No. 095 was a result of the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court (SC) on a Mandaluyong court decision that allowed Angkas to hit the streets again. Transportation officials received the TRO on Wednesday, December 12.

And because the LTFRB resolution ordered to "immediately implement the Resolution of the Supreme Court," Angkas motorcycles can be arrested by Wednesday night.

JUST IN: LTFRB issues a resolution ordering its enforcers to APPREHEND Angkas bikers operating as public utility vehicle. Their motorcycles will also be IMPOUNDED @rapplerdotcom — Aika Rey (@reyaika) December 12, 2018

In an August 20 order, Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court granted a preliminary injuction to Angkas, preventing the government from blocking its operations. The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) appealed this.

"Now, therefore, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this court, You [LTFRB], the respondent [Angkas], the Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court Brach 213 Mandaluyong City, your representatives, all other persons acting on your behalf are hereby RESTRAINED from implementing the assailed RTC order dated August 20 2018 in Civil Case No. R-MND-18-01453-SC," the dispositive portion of the SC order said.

With the High Court favoring them, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) told Rappler that the LTFRB will be issuing an order for its sheriffs to apprehend Angkas drivers. They will also issue another order for Angkas to stop its operations.

"Announcement would also address Angkas TNC (transport network company) and Angkas riders to cease and desist to avoid apprehension," said Goddes Libiran, DOTr communications director.

In a statement posted on Twitter, Angkas said the SC's TRO comes at a time when there is worsening holiday traffic. 

"This TRO also puts the livelihood of 25,000 biker-partners at risk – a few days before Christmas, when their families need it the most."

Angkas hopes the SC will "eventually rule in favor of the Filipino riding public."

"We offer our safety record of 99.997% as a potential model for responsible traffic safety nationwide. We will continue our fight to serve commuters in a safe and efficient manner, as well as legitimizing our riders." 

It's better to give than to receive! Kung may TRO kami, kayo din meron. Hihi. Two Rides Only. PROMO CODE: AngkasTRO - TRO = Two Rides Only - P99 off, 2 rides - 5000 redemptions — Angkas (@angkas) December 12, 2018

 The regulatory board suspended Angkas in November 2017 for violating Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. The law does not allow private motorcycles to ferry passengers for a fee. (READ: Why Angkas is illegal)

Aside from the legal hurdle, transportation officials and advocates have long expressed concerns over the safety of passengers boarding motorcycles. (READ: Habal-habal: Understanding the true cost of a cheap ride)

According to government data, majority of vehicular crash incidents involve motorcycles. The Metro Manila Development Authority recorded a total of 21,403 incidents in 2016 – 203 of which resulted to death. (IN CHARTS: How deadly are Metro Manila roads?–

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.