Motorcycle-hailing app Angkas shut down for lack of permits

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 9) — Transportation authorities on Thursday temporarily shut down a popular app-based motorcycle ride-sharing service after it failed to present business permits to operate.

Angkas is a ride-hailing app like Grab and Uber, which instead deploys motorcycles around Metro Manila. It has been operating for over a year now, with over 2,000 registered motorcycle riders.

"Considered as closed na po ito. Hindi na po sila pwedeng mag-operate until hindi nila naaayos yung papers na kailangan," said Makati City business permit inspector Archie Gamboa.

(Translation: They are considered closed. They cannot operate until they have fixed the necessary papers.)

Angkas gets 20 percent from every booking of its riders.

But because it is not registered with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the motorcycles are considered "colorum" or illegally operating.

A team of LTFRB, Land Transportation Office, Metro Manila Development Authority, and the police's Highway Patrol Group cracked down of Angkas riders on Thursday, resulting in the apprehension of 19 drivers.

There was tension earlier in the day when the LTFRB and other government officials trooped to the offices of Angkas' management in Makati to conduct an inspection. It took more than an hour before regulators were let inside the office.

This upset LTFRB spokesperson Aileen Lizada, who said they were just doing their jobs.

The standoff was among the violations Angkas was cited for, said Kzec Ivcon Daguio, another Makati City business permit inspector.

"Ang unang violation nila is dapat pagpasok namin nakapaskil yung business permit. Pangalawang violation nila is may authorization kami para mag inspect, hindi po nila kami hinaharap. Pangatlo, yung pangalan ng business hindi kanila tapos yung barangay clearance nila hindi rito sa barangay nakarehistro," Daguio said.

(Translation: Their first violation is that their business permit should be displayed as soon as we enter their office. The second violation is that we had an authorization to inspect, but they refused to face us. Third, the name of their business isn't theirs and their barangay clearance is not from the barangay they are registered to operate in.)

During the crackdown on riders, one of the apprehended Angkas riders, Rizal Alayon, said he underwent training to be a rider for Angkas three days after submitting clearances from the National Bureau of Investigation and police, and a proof of billing.

The motorcycles apprehended during the operation were impounded and riders are fined P10,000 each.

Angkas, in a statement, said its officials were "out of office," causing the delay in the inspection.

"We look forward to discussing the Board's concerns with Angkas and find a way towards regulation for this space," the statement from Angkas read.

"On behalf of its bikers, Angkas has always been open to regulation. We believe that the motorcycle taxi industry will benefit greatly from proper regulation to ensure standards of safety, training, and covered with the proper insurance to protect the riding public," it added.

Authorities are now coordinating with the Communications and Information Technology Department to remove Angkas' Internet Protocol (IP) address to stop its operations.

They also warned the public to stop patronizing ride-hailing apps that are not legitimate.

The LTFRB in August prohibited unaccredited Uber and Grab partners from operating after it was found that some of the vehicles operated by its drivers lacked the necessary permits.

Uber was then suspended for a month after LTFRB said it violated the order. The suspension was later lifted after Uber paid a P190-million fine to the LTFRB, and almost P300 million in lost income to its partner drivers.