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House approves bill legalizing motorcycle taxis

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The House of Representatives on Monday, February 4, approved a consolidated bill that would legalize the operations of motorcycle taxis, or habal-habal, including those operated by ride-hailing services provider Angkas.

House Bill (HB) 8959, or An Act Allowing the Use of Motorcycles as Public Utility Vehicles, is a substitute bill for six bills, three of which have been pending since 2016.

This bill was filed, approved by the House committee on transportation, and approved by the plenary on second reading all on the same day, January 30, 2019, less than two months after the Supreme Court issued an order that allowed the apprehension of Angkas bikers.


HB 8959 would amend Republic Act 4136, also known as the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, which does not allow motorcycles to transport passengers and cargo for a fee.

It received 181 affirmative votes, and zero negative vote and abstention during the plenary session on Monday.

It is a substitute bill for HB 1215 (by Rep. Pedro B. Acharon, Jr.), HB 2530 (by Rep. Juliette T. Uy), HB 3941 (by Rep. Ramon “Red” Durano VI), HB 6909 (by Rep. Raul V. Del Mar), HB 8819 (by /Rep. Arthur C. Yap), and HB 8822 (by Rep. Rozzano Rufino B. Biazon).

Acharon, Uy and Durano sought to legalize the use of motorcycles as PUVs in 2016 yet.

Del Mar filed his bill in December 2017 while Yap and Biazon filed their bills only in January 2019.

The House approved the measure almost two months after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) that stopped a Mandaluyong court from implementing a preliminary injunction that prohibited the apprehension of Angkas bikers.

With the Supreme Court order, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) ordered the apprehension of Angkas bikers.

READ: Angkas told: Cease operations or risk apprehension

More than a week after the Supreme Court order was issued, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) expressed openness to the use of two-wheelers as PUVs.

In a directive issued on December 21, 2018, Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade ordered the creation of a technical working group (TWG) to study the viability of legalizing the use of motorcycles for public transport.

READ: DOTr studies use of motorcycles for public transport

Following the approval of the bill in the House, lawmakers await the approval of a Senate version before the final bill would be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for signature. (Ventures Cebu)

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