Solon backs DoTr on moto-taxis

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A lawmaker yesterday pushed for the enactment of a law that would legalize the operation of motorcycles as taxis, just like in other countries which had recognized the important role two-wheeled vehicles can play in transporting people.

The issue at hand cannot be likened to that of TNVS. A D.O. should always be based on existing laws

Makati Rep. Luis Jose Angel Campos Jr. said “considering that motorcycle taxis had been mainstreamed by mobile ride-hailing applications, we might as well permit them and set standards for drivers and couriers.”

Campos’ statement countered the argument of some of his colleagues that the Department of Transportation (DoTr) can just issue a department order (DO) to legalize motorcycle taxis. It was also in line with the DoTr’s position.

The DoTr said it cannot just issue such an order to allow the likes of ride-hailing Angkas and habal-habal to operate, similar to what the previous administration did in allowing cars to operate as transport networked vehicle service (TNVS).

“The issue at hand cannot be likened to that of TNVS, as cited by some senators and congressmen. A DO should always be based on existing laws,” DoTr pointed out, referring to Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

RA 4136 specifically classified motorcycles as not for hire. To legalize motorcycles as taxis, Campos and his colleagues must amend RA 4136 or pass a law that would supplant it.

“According to RA 4136, passenger automobiles may be classified as either private or public (for hire), depending on its purpose. Thus, although TNVS units were initially classified as private vehicles, their transition to public transport only required a conversion to another classification,” the DoTr pointed out.

Campos said besides addressing the need for on-demand door-to-door public transportation and courier services, the legalization of motorcycle taxis would help many Filipinos, including returning migrant workers and students, support themselves.

He said legalization would also put an end to rampant extortion by corrupt agents of the law.

“Right now, motorcycle taxi drivers are vulnerable to a shakedown wherever they go,” Campos said, author of House Bill 8855, or the proposed Act Allowing Motorcycles as PUV.

The DoTr had created a technical working group to look into the preparations needed if ever a law is passed legalizing motorcycles as taxis. The department had appealed to everyone to respect a temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court against a lower court decision allowing Angkas to operate.

DoTr said that insofar that it respected the RTC decision, it is duty bound to enforce the SC ruling that, in effect, barred Angkas from operating during the pendency of the legal issue at hand.

The number of motorcycles registered with the Land Transportation Office surged to a yearly increase of 19.62 percent since 2015, according to the LTO.

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