#SaveAngkas Thanksgiving Concert A Hopeful Gathering Despite The Ban

Christmas has been a little bittersweet to Angkas and its riders wherein their operations has been halted by the recent TRO issued by the Supreme Court in favor of the LTFRB. But Angkas continues the fight for their spot as an alternative for mobility in the city. As announced in their Save Angkas Unity Ride, they have a Christmas treat for them with the #SaveAngkas Thankgiving concert held at the Quezon Memorial Circle.

Prior to this, a petition is being circulated to gather signatures and support for Angkas to continue operations. The Angkas petition can be found on this link: https://www.change.org/p/ltfrb-saveangkas-and-support-the-regulation-of-motorcycle-taxis-in-the-philippines, and it is now nearing its goal of 150,000 signatures.

In the press-con before the concert, George Royeca, Angkas head of Regulatory and Public Affairs says “Rest assured that we will do our best to come up with a course of action that's within the bounds of law so that we can once again serve the Filipino commuters." He is also joined by David Medrana, head of Operations and Atty. Ariel Inton, President of Lawyer for Commuters' Safety and Protection.

Angkas' safety record currently stands at 99.997%, above and beyond the rates cited by government agencies to claim otherwise. “Our safety record is a testament not only to the viability of using motorcycles for safe passenger services, but also of the massive improvements that a single committed organization can make to professionalize an industry,” stressed Royeca.

Angkas also found supporters in the government like Winston Castelo, Cristal Bagatsing, Rodel Batocabe, Johnny T. Pimental, Xavier Jesus Romualdo, and Cebu Mayor Tomas Osmeña. Each having their own statement that sees Angkas as partner in solving the traffic problem in the country.

“Government is supposed to make the people’s lives better, not worse. Angkas was a cleaner, safer version of what is the only practical mode of transportation for many Cebuanos, especially those who live in remote barangays,” Osmeña said in a news interview.
Former LTFRB Chairman Winston Ginez reiterated in his post that Angkas should be allowed to operate and that the LTFRB and the DOTr have the power to legitimize and regulate the ride-hailing service.

Congressman Castelo, Chairman of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, likewise urged the DOTr to allow Angkas to continue its operation for the sake of public interests. 

In a recent statement, Castelo said the DOTr can issue a Department Order to allow Angkas’ ride-hailing operations in the same manner that transportation network companies (TNC) or transport network vehicle services (TNVS) like Grab were allowed to do so.

“A mere DO can suffice to lessen the suffering of the commuting public. DOTr should realize this. If they cannot provide efficient and reliable mass transportation system as they are mandated to do, they should at least be creative and use modern technology. We should not be technical and legalistic on this while millions of Filipinos are suffering from traffic and losing PHP2 billion in lost opportunities,” Castelo said.

Rep. Johnny T. Pimentel of Surigao del Sur, in turn, decried the timing of the SC order. “Actually, the TRO is only temporary, however, the timing is not right considering the Christmas rush. Many commuters are having a hard time getting a ride. This will again be a big burden to our traveling public,” Pimentel said in a news report.

The Mobility Coalition, an alliance of organizations supporting commuter welfare, also recently issued a statement supporting Angkas. In the statement, the group said that they are disheartened by the recent Supreme Court decision and declared their support of the "regulation of motorcycle taxis as a public transport option" 

The online community was abuzz with tremendous support for Angkas, acknowledging the help that the ride-hailing app has given commuters like them.  In fact, the hashtag #SaveAngkas has trended on Twitter recently, and most tweets have been in support of moves to allow the operation of Angkas and to work for its regulation.

#SaveAngkas Thanksgiving Concert

As a Christmas treat for supporters and riders of Angkas, the Thankgiving concert held at the QMC is one of the ways Angkas wants to boost their spirits despite the current situation. And this is not just a simple concert. The roster of performers is a s smorgasbord of OPM performances and hosted by Laila Chikadora, JM Rodriguez, Bianka King, Fabio Ide, and Phoemela Baranda.

Over 15,000 people attended the concert which comes in perfect timing for the holidays where they also have family and friends who came to join in the fun that started 5PM and lasted until 2 AM.

Top celebrities such as Nadine Lustre, Sam Concepcion, Hale, Ella Cruz, Shanti Dope, Mayonnaise, Quest, Ex Battalion, Gab Valenciano, and Andrew E are the headliners and also includes a lot of OPM acts like Mayonaise, Because and many more.

In short videos shown during the concert, other prominent stars expressed their support for Angkas including Dingdong Dantes, Yassi Presman, Matteo Guidicelli, Tim Yap, Rovilson Fernandez, Marc Nelson, Phoemela Barranda, Kim Atienza, Myrtle Sarasa, Sabbie Rodriguez, Shawn Yao, Fabio Ide, and Jinno Rufino.

Each artist expressed their support for Angkas with every perfomance. There were also moments where Angkas riders shared their stories on how Angkas changed their lives and how determined they are to fight for their rights and the opportunities.

This maybe the last large event organized by Angkas this 2018 as they await further actions on their petition at the Supreme Court. They remain optimistic that it will rule in their favor as majority of the public favors the convenience of Angkas to the Filipino commuter.

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