TWG accuses ‘Angkas’ as fully foreign-owned company

The Technical Working Group (TWG) on Motorcycle (MC) Taxis formed by the government has accused motorcycle-hailing app “Angkas” of being fully owned by a foreigner in violation of local laws.

File photo from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) shows the Technical Working Group (TWG) on Motorcycle (MC) Taxis led by chairman retired police general Antonio B. Gardiola (center), together with DOTr road consultant Alberto Suansing and LTFRB technical director Joel Bolano

In a strongly-worded statement on Saturday, January 4, the TWG said “[r]ecords from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would show that Angkas is 99.996% owned by Angeline Xiwen Tham, a Singaporean, with P9.8 million in subscribed shares. Tham is also listed at the SEC as the president of the corporation.”

This information, the TWG said, shows “a blatant display of defiance and arrogance” on the part of Angkas.

“[N]ote how Angkas or DBDOYC (its registered corporate name) did not disclose to the riding public that it is a 99% foreign-owned corporation, and is operating contrary to existing Philippine laws that common carriers should be at least 60% owned by Filipinos,” the panel stressed.

The TWG made the statement after the Lawyers for Commuter Safety and Protection (LCSP) held a press conference on Friday, January 3. In the press event, the commuter advocacy group threatened to take legal action against the members of the TWG alleging irregularities in the conduct of the Motorcycle Taxi Service Pilot Implementation Run.

The group also made serious allegations against Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III for supposedly influencing the TWG and interceding on behalf of JoyRide, one of the service providers in the pilot run.

“We find it deplorable that the LCSP would resort to a politically-motivated deflection of the real issue confronting the program, and will even drag a senator into the fray,” the TWG said.

“But, it also behooves Angkas to explain why there are certain senators who are taking up the cudgels for them. Should they be imputed with influence-peddling and favoring Angkas as well?” it asked.

The TWG also pointed out that “Angkas has been conducting its business outside of the designated pilot run areas, which is considered illegal under existing laws.” It also added that “Angkas continues to adopt and collect surge fees which were already disallowed under the new guidelines.”

In a defiant stance, the TWG said it will not be deterred by threats of lawsuits and charges of corruption.

“It bears repeating, and emphasizing, that Angkas is merely operating on the basis of the motorcycle taxi pilot study, a privilege being accorded by the TWG, notwithstanding the legal issues hounding Angkas and its attempt to circumvent existing transport laws, to carry out its business,” it said.

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