Briones: Lost in translation

Publio Briones

THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) had no choice but to issue a clarification after Angkas, the app-based motorcycle taxi service, announced in a social media post that several thousands of its biker-members would lose their jobs within the next few months.

According to Angkas spokesman Wilson Fortaleza, “Almost 20,000 Angkas [drivers] are facing a sad Christmas and a bleak new year.”

He went on to say that “fostering competition in the motorcycle taxi sector is good but it should not lead to massive dislocation of [drivers].”

Fortaleza’s statements painted a bleak future for the industry when, in fact, if you look at the fine print it is anything but.

You see, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) inter-agency Technical Working Group (TWG) extended the pilot run of motorcycle taxi operations until March 2020.

Retired Police Maj. Gen. Antonio Gardiola Jr., TWG chairman, also said 12,000 additional riders will be joining the extended pilot run operations.

The LTFRB branded Angkas’ claims as “untrue and without basis.”

The TWG said there will be 39,000 motorcycle taxi drivers that will be operating after the deadline.

That is the allotted cap that will be divided equally between Angkas and two new competitors, JoyRide and Move It.

For Metro Manila, only 10,000 drivers from each company will be allowed to operate legally and 3,000 drivers each in Metro Cebu.

Are you with me so far?

According to the news, the pilot run started with 27,000 Angkas members participating. Apparently, that was supposed to be for both Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.

Now, Fortaleza said almost 20,000 of its members would be affected.

I did the math and that would leave Angkas with just 7,000 members operating under the new scheme.

That didn’t make sense. Already, there are around 5,000 Angkas drivers in Metro Cebu.

I assumed that when Fortaleza released the initial number of nearly 20,000 he meant the company’s members nationwide, including Metro Cebu. And when he said 17,000 would lose their jobs, I automatically assumed he only referred to members in Metro Manila and that around 2,000 others would be affected in Metro Cebu because if you add those numbers up you would get close to 20,000.

The LTFRB, though, denied that 17,000 Angkas members were at risk of losing their jobs.


And then Gardiola appealed to Angkas not to muddle the issue before the public through social media.

Which leaves me scratching my head and wishing you all a Merry and Blessed Christmas!