No political influence on selection of JoyRide, Move It as motorcycle taxi players – official

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 27)— A transport official on Friday denied claims that there had been “political influence” behind the selection of the new players in the government’s motorcycle taxi pilot run.

Transportation Assistant Secretary Alberto Suansing defended the technical working group’s move to add JoyRide and MoveIt in its extended pilot program, saying the two went through a rigorous process.

“We've gone over the papers of both applicants, wala naman kaming nakitang politically-sounding names doon (we did not notice any politically-sounding names there),” Suansing told CNN Philippines’ The Source.

Wala kaming tinitingnan kung sino bang pulitiko ang nandoon sa likod niyan. In fact, wala naman kaming naramdamang political pressure. Basta we went over the process na pagpili, and we came up with two,” he added.

[Translation: We’re not looking at any politician who may be behind this. In fact, we didn’t feel any political pressure. We just went over the selection process, and we came up with two.]

The six-month pilot run of motorcycle taxis— which had ride hailing service Angkas as sole operator— was originally scheduled to end this December.

Transport regulators, however, decided to extend the study for another three months, with JoyRide and Move It joining the field.

New players ‘ready’ to join the market

JoyRide, in particular, drew flak from netizens over the past week amid rumors that the company is owned by a high-ranking government official. They also criticized how several Twitter accounts— mainly belonging to supposed supporters of the current administration— have been flat-out advertising the app.

Senator Bong Go, whose name surfaced in online comments, earlier denied ownership of the controversial company.

“Fake news po ito,” Go said in a statement Tuesday. “Sa totoo lang, ngayon ko nga lang narinig ang kumpanyang JoyRide na iyan.”

[Translation: This is fake news. The truth is, this is the first time I’ve heard of that company JoyRide.]

“Kung meron mang gumagamit ng pangalan ko or nagsasabing kaanak ni Pangulo upang isulong ang inyong pangnegosyong interes, automatically denied kaagad ang inyong application,” he added.

[Translation: If there is anyone using my name or saying that he or she is related to the President to promote his business, the application is automatically denied.]

Angkas officials previously expressed caution with the entry of two “untested” players, saying the move will put the safety of passengers at risk.

RELATED: LTFRB counters Angkas: More motor taxis expected next year

Suansing, in response, said the two new players were chosen from a field of seven applicants because they seemed “ready” to join the motorcycle taxi market.

The pilot program was set up to guide legislators on their deliberations on the legality of motorcycles-for-hire.

Under the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, only four-wheeled vehicles could register with the Land Transportation Office to transport passengers and goods.