Cry To #SaveAngkas Gets Louder - Drivers Join Unity Ride

If you might have passed EDSA last Sunday morning, you might have encountered a huge number of motorbikes on the road particularly near the People Power monument and nearby areas. This is because it was a protest done by Angkas riders in response to the crackdown of LTFRB on their operations.

Dubbed as the Unity Ride, the riders first gathered at the monument where around 2,000 drivers came in their Angkas uniforms to show solidarity and voice out their frustrations with the ruling. Specifically it was the recent Supreme Court Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) junking a previous RTC injunction that prevented the LTFRB from apprehending Angkas riders. 

"We are will and continue to comply with the Supreme Court TRO" Angkas Head of Regulatory and Public Affairs George Royeca clarified.  

"As such, we will not prevent the LTFRB from apprehending our bikers and have instructed them to comply with the authorities should they be apprehended and always be courteous and respectful of the officers." 

The TRO has halted operations of Angkas drivers which most of them have adapted it as their source of income. One rider shared that they were able to afford fast food now because of angkas, but now they can't. Angkas said they are open for a dialogue with the DoTr and LTFRB to reach a agreement to continue operations and assure public rider safety. 

"Using various media channels, the LTFRB has made clear its intent to crack down on Angkas bikers, citing a very narrow interpretation of the law. Yet we have on various occasions presented the LTFRB with different options to move forward together," Royeca noted. "We have always believed that regulation, not prohibition, is key," he added. 

Because of the apprehensions initiated by the LTFRB, many of the Angkas bikers are scared of going out and taking rides from commuters. "This has put around 25,000 0f our rider-partners out of a decent livelihood, and during the holiday season, too, when their families need their income the most," David Medrana, Angkas Operations Head, stressed.

"It is also unfortunate that the Supreme Court issued the TRO at a time when hundreds of thousands of commuters need the Angkas service to beat the worsening holiday traffic," Medrana rued. 

Angkas rider-partner Romeo Maglungsod, Chairman of Solid Manila Riders Club, denounced the harassment of the LTFRB and decried his sudden loss of livelihood. "Napakasakit po ng nangyari sa amin. Sa isang iglap, bigla na lang kaming nawalan ng hanapbuhay," Maglungsod said.  

"Hindi man lang kami nabigyan ng abiso. Biglang-bigla. Kung kelan magpa-Pasko, saka pa kami natanggalan ng disenteng kabuhayan. Ang saklap naman ng aginaldo ng LTFRB," Maglungsod added. 

"The LTFRB has been claiming that they are doing this because of safety reasons," Medrana also noted. "But, we are proud to say that Angkas has a safety record of 99.997%—considering all our rider-partners and all their trips. This is much higher than the safety record of all non-Angkas motorcycle riders in the country and proves how serious we are in our commitment to the safety of our riders and their passengers," he revealed.

Angkas continue to appeal to push for proper regulation and registration that they hope will be supported by legislators that will clarify the technicality of transportation laws. For now they continue to appeal to the Supreme Court for an immediate action that will favor the operation and just in time for the dreaded traffic nightmare that is happening right now growing closer to Christmas Day and New Year.

Despite the gloomy situation of Angkas and its riders, the company announced that they will push trough with #SaveAngkas, a thanksgiving concert happening on Saturday (December 22) at the Quezon City City featuring Nainde Lustre, Sam Concepcion, Andrew E., Ella Cruz, Gab Vallenciano, Shanti Dope, Mayonnaise, Quest, Hale, and Ex Batallon. It also features Because, Donnalyn Bartolome, Janine Teñoso, DJ Jack Ramos, Jensen Gomez, Leanne and Naara, Marion Aunor, Mike Kosa, The Juan, Third Flo, and This Band. Hosted by DJ Laila, JM Rodriguez, Bianca King, Fabio Ide, and Phemela Baranda.

Social Media is also made engaging with the witty post on Facebook and twitter. The Angkas account has been posting with the hashtah #SaveAngkas and #AngkasForever which gained a lot of likes and comments, mostly positive, due to its unique style of posts and response.

For now we wait the fate of Angkas (again), but they have proved to overcome this a number of times as their riders continue to grow. It would be sad if this cannot be resolved as thousands of riders and families also wait for a Christmas miracle. 

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