By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

ANGKAS is seeking a 72-hour temporary restraining order (TRO) against the implementation of a policy allowing the inclusion of JoyRide and Move It in the extended pilot program for motorcycle taxis and imposing a limit on the number of bikers.

The move from motorcycle-hailing firm Angkas (DBDOYC, Inc.) comes after its bikers themselves earlier secured a hold order from a Mandaluyong court blocking the same policy.

In an order issued by the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, a copy of which was obtained by BusinessWorld, respondents Department of Transportation (DoTr) and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) were directed to attend a hearing on Wednesday on the petition filed by Angkas on Jan. 3 for the issuance of the TRO.

Angkas is questioning the cap on the number of the petitioners’ bikers, apprehension of the excess bikers, and the inclusion of JoyRide (We Move Things Philippines, Inc.) and Move It (We-Load Transcargo Corp.) in the pilot program for motorcycle taxis that is being implemented by the government’s technical working group (TWG).

The order was signed by Pairing Judge Catherine P. Manodon on Jan. 6.

The court said the petition for TRO also wishes to stop the respondents from “performing any act that will defeat or impair rights of the motorcycle taxis.”

The hearing was scheduled at 8:30 in the morning at the Session Hall of RTC Branch 104 of Quezon City.

George I. Royeca, regulatory and public affairs head at Angkas, declined to comment on the case.

“I can’t comment on the case. Just read the petition, you have it naman with you,” he said in a phone interview.

For her part, DoTr Assistant Secretary Goddess Hope Oliveros-Libiran said in an interview: “Nakakalungkot na kailangang humantong sa ganyan, kasi in the first place, matagal nang sinasabi ng Angkas na wala raw silang problema sa pag-join ng JoyRide at Move It at ang pini-petition lang nila ay ‘yung tungkol lang sa cap. Pero ngayon ‘yung in-apply nila na TRO ay nakalagay doon na pinapa-TRO din nila, aside from the cap, ‘yung pag-join ng Move It and JoyRide.”

(It’s sad that it has come to this, because in the first place, Angkas had said it has no problem with the joining of JoyRide and Move It, and that what they are petitioning against is only on the cap. But now, they also applied for a TRO against the joining of Move It and JoyRide.)

“This is just a pilot study. I mean kung walang pilot study, technically hindi pa sila considered as a legal public transportation mode. That’s precisely the reason why the TWG for motorcycle taxis is conducting this pilot study para tulungan nga sila ma-legalize at ma-regulate sila ng maayos,” she added.

(This is just a pilot study. If there was no pilot study, technically they will still not be considered as a legal public transportation mode. That’s precisely the reason why the TWG for motorcycle taxis is conducting this pilot study — to help them be legalized and be regulated properly.)

In a news conference in Makati City on Wednesday, Mr. Royeca said that he was not against competition in the motorcycle taxi industry.

“I would like to emphasize that even back then, I knew there will be new players as soon as motorcycle taxis become the subject of legislation and regulated,” he said.

“I have never aspired to establish a monopoly,” he added.

The LTFRB announced in December that the pilot program, which was supposed to end on the 26th of that month, would be extended to March 23 this year. The regulator said the extended pilot program would include JoyRide and Move It.

Also in its new policy, the regulator set a limit of 10,000 bikers per transport network company (TNC) for Metro Manila and 3,000 bikers per TNC for Metro Cebu operations.

But Angkas bikers opposed the policy as 17,000 of them could lose their jobs. They asked the Mandaluyong City RTC to issue a TRO against it.

Mandaluyong City RTC Vice/Acting Executive Judge Ofelia L. Calo issued the 72-hour TRO against the new policy on Monday.

The court 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.” — with Vincent Mariel P. Galang