“MOVE on. Sakit, pero mangita na lang og laing panginabuhian (It hurts, but we have no choice but to look for another way to make a living).”
That was the lament of 25-year-old Elizar Ermac, an Angkas biker for almost two years, when he learned about the recent development on Angkas, an app-based motorcycle taxi service launched in 2016.
Around 2,000 Angkas bikers in Metro Cebu and around 17,000 Angkas bikers in Metro Manila are now at risk of losing their jobs after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) limited the motorcycle taxi company’s operations.
However, the inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) on motorcycle taxis also extended the pilot run of motorcycle taxi operations until March 23, 2020.
From the original 27,000 bikers of Angkas in Metro Manila for the six-month pilot run, the TWG set a new overall allotted cap of 39,000 registered bikers to be divided among Angkas and two new providers, JoyRide and Move It: 10,000 for Metro Manila and 3,000 for Metro Cebu per ride-hailing company.
The first pilot implementation period for Angkas was supposed to end on Dec. 26.
Ermac hoped he would make it to the 3,000 bikers that Angkas could retain in Metro Cebu.
“Wa naman mi mahimo mga biker kung di mi ma-belong sa 3,000. Kung di mi ma-belong, ang uban ra ba sama nako kay ni-resign sa unang trabaho kay mas maayo ang income sa Angkas, nya ang ending diya kay dira ra ta taman, so sakit pero wa tay mahimo,” he told SunStar Cebu.
(We can’t do anything if we are not part of the 3,000 who will be chosen. There are people like me who resigned from their jobs because we believed we would earn more as an Angkas driver. I guess I’ll just have to grin and bear it.)
His sentiment was shared by Kevin Auxtero, an Angkas biker for two years already, whose wife is scheduled to give birth to their second child in January.
“Many bikers rely on Angkas for their living. If what they’re saying about limiting the number of Angkas drivers is true, then I don’t know what to do,” Auxtero said in Cebuano. “I rely on this job to support my family and to pay off my debts since I recently purchased a new motorcycle on installment.”
Even if he is not retained as an Angkas biker, Auxtero said he is not sure he will apply at JoyRide or Move It since the public is more familiar with Angkas.
“I’m really worried. I want to stick with Angkas where I underwent good training. I don’t know what kind of training the other companies will offer,” he said in Cebuano.
Jewil Ann Tabiolo has been using Angkas since it began operating in Cebu in 2017. She admitted it would not be easy for her to switch to another motorcycle taxi hailing company.
“Nevertheless, if I’m left with no choice and if I see that they run background checks, assessments and training to their drivers, I’m up to give them the benefit of the doubt,” she said.
The hashtag #SaveAngkas trended worldwide on Saturday, Dec. 21, as the now viral Facebook post by Angkas asked for the support of the riding public to help bikers keep their jobs.
In an official statement on Saturday, Dec. 21, Angkas chief transport advocate George Royeca expressed his dismay about the new policy despite being extended as a motorcycle taxi services provider until 2020.
Royeca pointed out Angkas’ willingness to provide more bikers to address the commuters’ increasing demand of their services but they were not allowed by the LTFRB.
“That’s a compromise to the quality of service you can expect and a direct blow to over 17,000 Filipino families (in Metro Manila),” Royeca said.
He said that it will be more difficult to prioritize the safety of passengers and the welfare of their bikers because of the new cap. / WBS, NJN