DOTr seeks more time to evaluate safety, legality of motorcycle taxis

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 2) — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Saturday asked the public to give them more time to thresh out concerns surrounding motorcycle taxis, amid a House bill seeking to legalize them for public transport.

The DOTr, in a statement, said its technical working group is willing to have discussions with motorcycle groups and stakeholders for "passenger safety."

"Issuing a DO (department order) allowing motorcycle taxis to operate as public transport would go against the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court, thereby exposing DOTr officials to criminal liability or contempt of court," it said, referring to the Supreme Court order issued against app-based motorcycle taxi service Angkas in December.

The DOTr argued a DO must always be based on existing laws.

"This is why the DOTr has maintained that the best recourse for conversion of motorcycle taxis to public transport is amendment of the law. In fact, this lack of an enabling law is best reiterated by the various proposed bills in the House and the Senate seeking to allow motorcycle taxis to operate as a public transport mode," he said.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved on second reading a bill which allows motorcycles-for-hire as an amendment to Republic Act 4136 or Land Transportation and Traffic Code.

Under the current code, motorcycles are not allowed to be "for hire" or for public utility.