Angkas Operations Halted Once Again After Supreme Court Issues TRO

Once again, the operations of the motorcycle-based ride-hailing app Angkas have been halted.

The Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on a decision by a Mandaluyong court last August that allowed Angkas to begin serving the commuting public.

Angkas TRO

The TRO was delivered to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on December 12.  As a result, the LTFRB is ordering all law enforcers to apprehend and impound Angkas motorcycles and drivers caught still operating in the streets starting December 13.

The Supreme Court decision was welcomed the LTFRB as they had petitioned for the issuance of the TRO. According to them, Angkas has been violating traffic laws.

The calm before the storm

In November of 2017, Angkas’ operations were also shut down because according to the LTFRB, Angkas is violating Republic Act No. 4136, also known as the “Land Transportation and Traffic Code.” They shouldn’t be allowed to operate, the agency said.

“Our position is that motorcycles registered in the service are not authorized to conduct business and offer public transport under Republic Act 4136. For them to be allowed, the law has to be amended by Congress.”

—the statement released by the LTFRB and the DoTr and posted by TopGear Philippines

But this September, the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court Branch 213 issued a preliminary injunction, which prevents the government from interfering with Angkas, allowing it to resume operations until a final decision from industry regulators is made.

“Now, therefore, effective immediately and continuing until further orders from this court, you [LTFRB], the respondent [Angkas], the Presiding Judge, Regional Trial Court Brach 213 Mandaluyong City, your representatives, all other persons acting on your behalf are hereby RESTRAINED from implementing the assailed RTC order dated August 20 2018 in Civil Case No. R-MND-18-01453-SC,” a portion from the Supreme Court Order said.

However, in a resolution by the Supreme Court to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) dated December 5, 2018, the higher court issuing a TRO revoking the previous decision of the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court to block the LTFRB from interfering with the operations of Angkas.

The SC is also ordering Angkas operators to send their comments on the petition for certiorari of the LTFRB within 10 days after the acceptance of the notice. A total of P1,000 is also required from them as a payment for the sheriff’s trust fund and a copy of the preliminary injunction order dated August 20, 2018, both to be submitted within five days from notice.

(Read: 4 Reasons The Government Should Regulate ‘Habal-Habal’)

On the brighter side

In response to the impending TRO, Angkas offered discounts to its customers yesterday announcing a P99 abatement that can be availed by the passengers twice with the promo code “AngkasTRO,” poking fun at the TRO issued by the SC.

“It’s better to give than to receive! Kung may TRO kami, kayo din meron. Hihi. Two Rides Only,” a tweet from Angkas’ official Twitter page said.

Angkas also posted their official statement on the issue and reassured their customers that they will fight and continue to hope that the SC will eventually rule out the TRO and instead favor the Filipino riding public.

“We are saddened to hear that the Supreme Court issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on an earlier court decision allowing Angkas to operate.

“This comes at a time when hundreds of thousands of commuters need the Angkas service to beat the worsening holiday traffic. This TRO also puts the livelihood of P25,000 biker-partners at risk– a few days before Christmas, when their families need it the most.

“We offer our safety record of 99.997% as a potential model for responsible traffic safety nationwide.

“We will continue our fight to serve commuters in a safe and efficient manner, as well as legitimizing our riders. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will eventually rule in favor of the Filipino riding public,” Head of Angkas Operations David Medrana said in the statement.”

Other sources: Rappler