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And while I don’t really mind free-market competition in the realm of motorcycle-hailing taxis. But I do have safety concerns with the operations of motorcycle-taxis, especially given the fact that the operation of such mode of mass transport isn’t really consistent with our existing laws.
Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code only allows motorcycles to be registered as private or government vehicles and cannot be used to pick up passengers for a fee.
But last 2017, the DOT made some clarifications to this rule by amending which type of vehicles can be added as a transport network vehicle service (TNVS). RA 4136 Sec. 7q states that “the Commissioner of Land Transportation may, in his discretion, allow the registration under this classification of motor vehicles which do not conform to the foregoing described regular classification,” without need for legislation for now.
Angkas on their part did their very best to professionalize motorcycle-taxi operation by making sure that its riders are safe, Angkas drivers undergo background checks and rigorous safety training while passengers are provided a helmet, shower cap, face mask and raincoat. Both bikers and passengers are covered by personal accident insurance.
Angkas was sole pioneer in motorcycle taxi operation here in the Philippines and has built itself up without the need for a political endorser to influence regulatory requirements from the government.
And now here comes JoyRide. A newcomer and startup in the motorcycle-hailing business. But the company seems to have an ace up its sleeves because unlike other motorcycle-hailing taxis out there. It has political connections and has apparently cheated its way through.
Let me tell you why this was the case. Bear in mind that there has been a total of 9 other professionalize motorcyce-taxi startups who applied to join the motorcycle taxi pilot run, but were denied entry by the Technical Working Group for absolutely no appalling reason.
Who are these groups? Here’s the list
- VRoom Go
- Hava App
Though the media has tried to reach DOTR TWG and sought their technical and detailed reasons as to why these other ride-hailing apps were rejected but none was ever provided. It seems that the entire process was merely a ploy to prioritize and favor Joyride under the endorsement of PDP LABAN Chief Koko Pimentel. The same party of the incumbent Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
In fact, several netizens even noticed that the secretary-general of the Quezon City chapter of PDP-Laban (President Rodrigo Duterte’s political party) has been actively promoting JoyRide – even posting paid ads – on social media to help boost its popularity.
There was even some screenshots on Facebook of suspected bots and fake accounts posting exaggerated positive reviews of JoyRide – even days before JoyRide even started operations?
So you can see that not only Joyride seemingly attempted to use political insiders to get inside DOTR TWG, but also the fact it willfully used troll-tactics to try and get the masses involved.
Sort of a Duterte-like, propaganda technique. Utilizing even the same Pro Duterte influencers in social-media to promote their business on Facebook.
Cheat Code ”PDP-LABAN” worked for Joyride?
As I have emphasized again that there have been several professionalized motorcycle-hailing apps who attempted to join the DoTR Technical Working Group’s motorcycle taxi pilot run.
But almost more than 90% of them were rejected without any good reasoning as to why they have been rejected in the first place and that only Joyride and Move It has ever passed to successfully try for the extended pilot will run until March 23 along with the seasoned veteran in the professionalized motorcycle-taxi business Angkas.
So this could clearly mean that there’s a political manipulation that favored certain businesses to cheat their way for a government endorsement and likely as it has become apparent that Joyride capitalize on its political connected in Duterte’s political party under its President Koko Pimentel.
In response, groups like Lawyers for Commuter Safety and Protection (LCSP) with its member Ariel Inton and Raymond Fortun were planning on mulling graft charges against Koko Pimentel in his part.
That is of course under, Section 4b of Republic Act No. 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, which states that public officials must act with the highest degree of professionalism.
If Duterte really is serious about his anti-graft and corruption drive, then he would surely support the disciplinary actions taken against Koko Pimentel for attempting to influence the process of reviewing professionalize motorcycle-taxi startups.
This surely hurts the spirit of free-market competition and stifle further innovations in the business sector. This is a fine example that doing business in the Philippines has never been easy, but fraught with under-the-table dealings and briberies which only favors the politically well-connected instead of the ones with most promising service or product for the consumers.