Last Saturday afternoon, under the sweltering heat of the summer sun, we joined thousands of Angkas riders for its Angas Safety Fiesta. The event itself was very well-organized but the appearance of several senatorial candidates caught me a bit offguard and as expected each one promised the Ankas riders their support once they get elected to the Senate.
But before I reveal the names of these senatoriables who promised to support Angkas, let me share a side story.
I must admit I’m not quite of a fan of Angkas nor have I tried using the app, but I do applaud them for providing a faster alternative mode transportation, and very impressed by their 99.997 percent safety record, but I do believe all those facts wont matter until all their riders learn not just to drive safely but drive with discipline. While the Angkas Fiesta series is a good step toward professionalizing Ankas drivers, Im quite disappointed with how SOME of the riders behaved right after the event.
So we were on our way out of the Vertis North carpark and unfortunately, it seemed the Angkas event had just finished and hundreds of riders were also on their way out of the basement parking.
Now, I do hope management learns from this experience and assign a specific exit for all these motorcycles and leave the rest of the gates for other vehicles.
Why? Not because we want preferential treatment, but how would you feel being behind 30 motorcycles with several others trying to overtake you.
Now the guards were trying to group the motorcycles into batches so that other vehicles could also pass, but there was this one guy, who overtook the group in front of us and even had the nerve to argue with the guard and almost taunting him to fight.
I have to commend the guard’s patience, but it was clear that even he was getting really pissed off by this arrogant rider. And as if his overtaking wasn’t enough he even managed to squeeze in front just so he could exit first. Talk about wasting an entire afternoon of becoming a better driver.
He wasnt the only one and there were a couple of others who came from behind and overtook us ignoring the guards who were just trying to restore order.
So they may be safe drivers but disciplined? Well, I think that requires more than just a series of pep talk.
Anyway, the Angkas Safety Fiesta is a series of events that aim to promote motorcycle road safety among Filipinos. The most recent event was held at Vertis North, Quezon City and featured a safety seminar, an earthquake response briefing, and preventive maintenance discussions—all presided by Angkas trainers. A free medical assistance booth was also set up for the attendees of the event.
Performing during the event were Andrew E, Dante Gulapa, Mateo Guidicelli, Mayonnaise, Allmost, D&G, and Trix the Angkas Rapper. The program was hosted by DJ Laila.
Angkas Head of Regulation and Public Affairs George Royeca, in turn, spoke on behalf of the ride-sharing service. “It has been our advocacy in Angkas to promote road safety consciousness among the motorcycle riders of the country,” Royeca stressed. “This is why we have been holding the Safety Fiesta in order to make as many motorcycle riders aware of the need to ride safely every single time and propagate the knowledge of how to ride motorcycles as safely as they can,” he added
And since its election season, several senatorial candidates from different political parties dropped by the Angkas Safety Fiesta to express their support and collectively called for the resumption of the app-based ride-hailing service and pushed for the rights of motorcycle riders.
Senatoriables Grace Poe, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Bato dela Rosa, and JV Ejercito (who is perhaps the most avid rider of all) graced the Safety Fiesta to support Angkas’ efforts to propagate the proper safety training of motorcycle riders in the Philippines.
The senatoriables were joined by Rep. Winston Castelo, the chair of the House Committee on Metro Manila Development, and wife Councilor Precious Hipolito-Castelo.
In the event, the senatoriables and the other candidates agreed that it was high time for the government to implement the legalization and regulation of motorcycle taxis.
Administration senatorial candidate JV Ejercito, who is a motorcycle enthusiast himself, also expressed his support for the regulation of Angkas, reiterating that he has a pending bill in Congress that addresses the regulation issues of motorcycle taxis.
They also called for the resumption of Angkas’ operations, stressing that the non-action on the part of the concerned government agencies constitutes a continuing violation of motorcycle riders’ rights especially since Angkas has been providing a decent source of livelihood for thousands of motorcycle owners in the country, aside from helping Filipinos in their daily commuting woes.
Senator Grace Poe, in her speech during the program, commended Angkas’ safety training while declaring that the ride-hailing service will help in addressing the country’s mass transport problems. “Ang totoo, ako ay saludo sa Angkas dahil binibigyan kayo ng proper training and guidance. Kailangan natin talaga ang iba’t-ibang pagkakataon at modes of transportation. May bus, may jeep, at may MRT, pero kulang pa,” the senator said.
“Pero ang aking tututukan ay dapat ligtas ang ating mga pasahero. Kaya ako ay nagpapasalamat sa Angkas dahil nagbibigay sila ng tamang training sa inyong lahat,” Sen. Poe added.
For his part, senatoriable Diokno said that he is pushing for the rights of motorcycle riders.
“Naiintidihan ko talaga yung pangangailangan na magkaroon tayo ng isang batas na kinikilala ang karapatan ng mga motorcycle riders na magkaroon ng hanapbuhay na legal, hanapbuhay na kinikilala ng batas,” Diokno said.
Senatorial candidate Bato dela Rosa, in his own talk, also told the participants of the Safety Fiesta that he will support motorcycle taxi regulation if he gets elected to the Senate. “Ako’y anak ng tricycle driver. Motorsiklo ang gamit ng tatay ko. Nagmomotor din ako, kaya kung ako ay manalo, susuportahan ko ang Angkas bill na pending sa Senado,” dela Rosa declared.
In his speech, Senator Bam Aquino acknowledged the motorcycle riders’ need to seek a decent livelihood with the motorcycles that they own. “Lahat tayo na gustong maghanapbuhay, gustong magnegosyo ay hindi dapat pinipigilan,” Sen. Aquino stressed.
“Mahalaga na mabigyang suporta po natin yung ating mga sektor na naghahanap ng tulong upang makapaghanapbuhay para sa ating pamilya,” he added.
Sen. Aquino also commended Angkas for helping motorcycle riders in many ways. “Yung Angkas po, maganda yung kanilang framework, maganda yung kanilang app, marami pong natutulungan. Gaya po ninyo na puwede pong maghanapbuhay gamit ang inyong mga motor, at the same time nagbibigay ng mga leksiyon at lecture tungkol sa safety at security ninyo,” Sen. Aquino noted.
Rep. Winston Castelo echoed the other guests’ sentiments as he vowed to push for the legalization and regulation of motorcycle taxis. “Bigyan natin ng hanapbuhay ang taumbayan. Kaya ako po ay nagfile ng bill sa Kongreso and I am happy to announce, and I am proud to tell you that it has been approved,” Rep. Castelo revealed. “Hindi tayo papayag na mahirapang muli ang taumbayan. Hindi tayo papayag na hindi kayo mabigyan ng oportunidad na magkaroon ng hanapbuhay,” he added.