Go says Duterte agreed to continue pilot run of motorcycle taxi

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SENATE PROTEST Angkas drivers raise their fists in protest during Monday’s Senate hearing on motorcyle taxis after a member of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board said the agency would terminate its pilot test for all motorcycle taxis next week. INQUIRER file photo / MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte agreed that the implementation of the pilot program on the safety of motorcycle taxis should push through, according to his former aide and Senator Christopher “Bong” Go.

“Pumayag naman po siya na sa ngayon wag munang ituloy yung paghuli. Tuloy muna yung pilot test run for the meantime na wala pang amendments sa existing law,” Go told reporters in an interview on Tuesday.

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(He agreed that the units of motorcycle taxi should not be impounded. That the pilot test should continue for the meantime that there’s no amendment yet to the existing law).

In June last year, a six-month pilot run was approved to help Congress further evaluate pending bills seeking to legalize the use of motorcycles as public utility vehicles (PUVs).

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The pilot run was originally set to end on December 26, 2019, but was extended until March 23, 2020.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) technical working group (TWG) on motorcycle taxis, however, recommended the cancelation of the pilot run meant to assess the safety of bikes as a mode of public transportation, citing legal impediments which they said hindered them from gathering sufficient data for the study.

But after senators grilled the TWG over its reasoning behind the termination of the pilot run during Monday’s Senate hearing, the TWG reversed its decision.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) board member Antonio Gardiola Jr. said that the implementation of the pilot program on motorcycle taxis will continue.

Go, meanwhile, stressed that while he supports the motorcycle-for-hire services because it provides livelihood and an alternative mode of transportation to commuters, the safety of passengers should be of utmost importance.

“Ang akin lang naman po, safety ng bawat pasahero. Sabi ko sa kanila (riders) sundin lang po nila yung safety nets na dapat sundin. Dapat experienced yung driver. Yun ang importante,” the senator said.

(For me, it’s the safety of the passengers. That’s why I told them to follow safety nets. The drivers should have vast experience. That’s more important).

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Go said the President also shares the same sentiment in terms of ensuring the safety of passengers.

“Rider po ‘yan, so safety. Siya nga mismo di ba nadisgrasya. So not only sa safety ng driver but including the passenger dahil nagiging public utility vehicle na po siya, so ibang usapan na po ito,” he said.

(He’s a rider himself, so safety. Even he himself figured in an accident before. So not only the safety of the drivers but also the passengers because this is becoming into a public utility vehicle, so that’s another thing).

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