DOTR: GIVE TWG TIME TO EVALUATE SAFETY AND LEGALITY OF MOTORCYCLE TAXI OPERATIONS
Much as it understands the perspective of some lawmakers on the issue of motorcycle taxis operating as public transport, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) also seeks public understanding as its Technical Working Group (TWG) threshes out the numerous concerns involved in the proposal, foremost of which is commuter safety.
The issue at hand cannot be likened to that of Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), as cited by some senators and congressmen. A Department Order (DO) should always be based on existing laws.
According to Republic Act 4136 (Land Transportation and Traffic Code), 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.
On the other hand, RA 4136 clearly does not allow motorcycles to be classified as "for hire" or for public utility.
This is why the DOTr has maintained that the best recourse for conversion of motorcycle taxis to public transport is amendment of the law. In fact, this lack of an enabling law is best reiterated by the various proposed bills in the House and the Senate seeking to allow motorcycle taxis to operate as a public transport mode.
Further, issuing a DO allowing motorcycle taxis to operate as public transport would go against the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court, thereby exposing DOTr officials to criminal liability or contempt of court.
The DOTr also wishes to reiterate that it does not intend to antagonize Angkas. In fact, the DOTr has welcomed motorcycle groups in TWG discussions to thresh out the requirements and other contingent issues. These issues are ultimately directed at regulation for passenger safety and nothing else.
In the meantime, the DOTr appeals for utmost patience and understanding. Rest assured that we are committed to President Duterte's marching orders to make the Filipino life comfortable.
Photo from Philippine Star