New policy may displace thousands of Angkas riders, motorcycle-taxi firm says

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 21) – Ride-hailing firm Angkas announced Saturday that 17,000 of their drivers might lose their jobs due to the new condition set by the Department of Transportation for them to legally operate.

Currently, Angkas, which has a total of 27,000 bikers, can operate as it is part of the transportation department's motorcycle taxi service pilot run in Metro Manila and Cebu City. The test run is originally set to end on December 26 this year, but the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) technical working group (TWG) has officially endorsed an extension the study by six months to provide the commuting public more options. Angkas will be joined by JoyRide and MoveIt.

READ: Two new motorcycle taxi services to rival Angkas

However, the TWG imposed a limit in the number of riders who could join the test run – at 10,000 per group in Metro Manila and 3,000 per group in Metro Cebu.

“Your everyday heroes in traffic will enter this Christmas season not knowing whether they will have money to feed their families next year,” Angkas spokesperson George Royeca said in a statement.

These bikers are some of the best that the motorcycle taxi service provider has and letting them go means compromising the quality of service they provide to their customers, Royeca argued.

Royeca decried the decision of the land regulator, saying that this policy will not only affect their thousands of employees, it will also be a “direct blow” to their families.

Bakit kailangang bawasan at tanggalan ng trabaho ang mga riders natin? Bakit kailangang parusahan ang mga bikers na nakapag-training at napatunayan na ang galing sa daan?"

[Translation: Why is there a need to set a limit on the number of our riders? Why is there a need to punish the bikers who have undergone training and proven their excellence on the road?]

Royeca said that while they are known for their tongue-in-cheek humor on social media, they take the safety of their passengers and drivers safely, which will be harder with the new rules of the DOTr.

He then made an appeal to public, who, through their clamor, once helped them convince the government to allow them to legally operate for six months, to prevent a lay off from happening.

“Now, at a time of our need, we humbly ask that you share this message,” Royeca said.

Measures seeking to classify motorcycles-for-hire or two-wheeled vehicles as legitimate means of public transportation have been filed in Congress to address the lack of public transport.

CNN Philippines Digital Producer Catherine A. Modesto contributed to this report