By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

THE Mandaluyong City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has issued a 72-hour temporary restraining order (TRO) against the new policy of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that limits the number of bikers of motorcycle ride-hailing platform Angkas (DBDOYC, Inc.) to 10,000 in Metro Manila and 3,000 in Cebu.

In the order signed by Mandaluyong City RTC Vice/Acting Executive Judge Ofelia L. Calo on Jan. 6, the court told the respondents and persons acting for or on their behalf not to implement the agency’s revised general guidelines for the pilot implementation of motorcycle taxis.

It said the policy “puts a cap on the number of bikers that Angkas is entitled to” and enjoined the respondents “from performing any act that limits and impairs their rights to deal with and continue with their contracts with Angkas.”

The TRO was sought by Angkas bikers. It is issued upon the posting of a P300,000 bond.

The order also said that the judge, within the 72-hour period, will have to conduct a summary hearing to find out if the TRO needs an extension “until the application for preliminary injunction can be heard.”

The government’s interagency technical working group (TWG) for motorcycle taxis announced in December the extension of the implementation of the pilot program to March this year as it allowed two more entities to participate in the program.

“Pursuant to the mandate of the TWG, after careful evaluation, inspection, and validation of the overall operational readiness of the applicants, an additional (2) providers — JoyRide and Move It, were chosen to (participate) in the extension of the MC (Motorcycle) Taxi Pilot Implementation,” the LTFRB said in a statement.

The two companies would join Angkas in the extended pilot program “starting 23 December 2019 up to 23 March 2020 with an overall allotted cap of thirty-nine thousand (39,000) registered bikers — ten thousand (10,000) bikers per Transport Network Company (TNC) for Metro Manila and three thousand (3,000) bikers per TNC for Metro Cebu operations,” the regulator added.

Commuter rights associations have called for a congressional hearing into the decisions made behind the scenes by government agencies regarding the extension of the pilot program for motorcycle taxi services, claiming they were not consulted on the matter.

A group has also asked a Quezon City court to stop We Move Things Philippines, Inc., more known as JoyRide, Habal Rides Corp., I-Sabay, Sampa-Dala Corp. and Trans-Serve Corp. from operating, claiming such companies are inadequately organized and expose their customers to undue risk.