Perhaps various posts on social media about the rather unfair situation involving Angkas and other motorcycle taxi services had gotten tot the right ears.
Today I was told that our dear Usec. Mark Richmund De Leon had been instructed by Transportation Secretary Art Tugade to tell the public that other motorcycle taxi services would be allowed to operate SHOULD ANGKAS’ pilot testing period be extended.
Quoting DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade, De Leon told CNN Philippines in a phone message Sunday that the department is now awaiting word on the test run from an inter-agency technical working group (TWG) that it formed to study the feasibility of such a ride-hailing service. The test run is due to expire at the end of this month.
“We are awaiting the official report of the TWG. But Sec. Tugade said that should the pilot implementation be extended, the TWG should allow other motorcycle taxi apps [application] as long as they are compliant to DOTr guidelines,” said DOTr Undersecretary Mark de Leon in a phone message to CNN Philippines.
Tugade hopes that the TWG will allow an extension of the Angkas pilot run.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), which is in the TWG, said last week that it was also expecting more motorcycle-based transport groups as six new ride hailing providers had submitted proposals to the DOTr.
De Leon said that the applications of the new motorcycle taxis are being evaluated by the TWG.
On the surface, De Leon is making it appear to the public that the TWG is some kind of independent body that decides on such matters independently and cannot be influenced by the bureaucracy.
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But what De Leon is really saying here is that if other motorcycle taxi services don’t get to operate together with Angkas, it will be because of the TWG’s decision and not his.
From the press release and Facebook posts of DOTr, it would seem that the TWG cannot be swayed by vested interests and was created to safeguard the public’s interest.
The TWG will be comprised of representatives from 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), Senate, House of Representatives, commuter welfare groups, road safety advocates, motorcycle manufacturers, motorcycle organizations, and law schools.
But CLEARLY, what the DOTR is saying is vastly different from what it is doing. Because if it was really independent and no vested interests were being coddled, then WHY WAS ANGKAS THE ONLY COMPANY REPRESENTED IN DOTR’s publicity on the TWG?
This whole thing really gives a bad impression and tends to demonstrate that the REGULATORY CAPTURE is INCIPIENT with Angkas calling the shots every step of the way.
The thing is, the report and decision on the DOTR TWG on Motorcycle Taxi Service Pilot testing should have been out last week.
But rumor has it that, strangely, Usec. De Leon was absent from meetings of the TWG.
Apparently, without De Leon, the TWG under him won’t be able to make a decision on whether or not to allow the operation of Motorcycle Taxis and open this transport sub-sector to other motorcycle taxi operators.
Without a decision on the motorcycle taxi pilot testing, other motorcycle taxi services will just have to wring their hands and press their faces against the window pane as Angkas feasts on the windfall from Christmas holiday rush — when demand for taxi services are at its peak.
I estimated the size of this windfall and it could be worth around P2.5 BILLION and the Singaporean owners of Angkas could be earning P627 MILLION.
As I have been saying in the past, De Leon could be liable for allowing creating a monopoly and some of my sources speculate that his disappearance from the TWG is actually a way to set up a credible defense from possible graft and corruption charges.
As Senate Blue Ribbon Committee Chairman Richard Gordon says, “Graft and corruption involves malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance.
Malfeasance is any act that is illegal or wrongful and this won’t stick as De Leon can say he was lawfully assigned to the TWG.
Misfeasance is an act that is legal but improperly performed, but he could probably point out to that he was following the procedures set for the TWG.
Nonfeasance, by contrast, is a failure to act that results in harm and because of his absence — because he was kidnapped by Rudolph and the other reindeers — he could say he was not able to act because of circumstances outside of his control.
But of course, I’m no lawyer and perhaps my former boss Gordon can find a chink in De Leon’s defense.
While De Leon enjoys his “vacation” from the TWG, the equivalent of Salim’s puppet Manny V. Pangilinan in Angkas, George Royeca is going around newspapers saying that “his” company is going to continue operating throughout the Christmas season.
Read this excerpt from an article published by Business Mirror:
George Royeca, who cofounded the tech-enabled transport app with his wife, said his group, in a recent meeting with members of the technical working group (TWG), has sounded off the government on its intention to continue operating beyond the six-month provisional testing period for motorcycle taxi services.
“The department order provides for extension. Hopefully, we can get a positive recommendation from the TWG,” he said in an interview. “We hope to continue the service for the public.”
The provisional operation of Angkas is set to be terminated on December 26, a day after Christmas. To recall, the government, due to public clamor, decided to test—in the absence of legislation allowing such—the operations of motorcycle taxis in the Philippines for six months from June 26.
To date, the government has yet to craft a set of rules and regulations for motorcycle taxi services. Royeca hopes that the government will see the value that his group brings to the transport industry, especially since traffic levels in the country are expected to continue worsening with the Christmas rush.
“We’ve been working very closely with the regulators. From the very beginning, what we have been fighting for is the regulation of motorcycle taxis. It’s all about making it into law, and we won’t stop until there’s a law regulating us,” he said.
Hanep naman George, ikaw na pala nagdidikta sa TWG! Ikaw na!