The Committee on Transportation of the Sangguniang Panlungsod will inquire about the alleged illegal operation of Backride Palawan, a ride-hailing business using the online booking application, to thresh out necessary legislative measures.

Councilor Nesario G. Awat said Wednesday that while he has no idea about the operation of Backride, he learned about it after being interviewed over the radio regarding complaints against the motorcycle service provider.

Awat, who chairs the Committee on Transportation, stated that although he has not received any complaints yet, he felt the need to take action on the issue before it gets out of hand. He explained that such economic activities should secure permits and other necessary documents from the city government to legalize their operation, adding that because the issue involves transportation, he deemed it appropriate to have it referred to his committee

“[What I heard was] dati mayroon daw permit sa Congress but unfortunately, hindi ito naisakatuparan,” he said, referring to the franchise of ride-hailing services or the Transport Network Vehicle Services (TNVS) in Metro Manila.

“I might be blamed later on for the fact that I, as chairman of the Committee on Transportation, did not do anything about it,” he said.

His privileged speech was referred to the committee on transportation for further deliberations. He said that the committee hasn’t decided yet whether to write an ordinance or a resolution to make the Backride Palawan legal or stop it from running.

“Wala pa namang nakapagpaabot ng reklamo, maliban doon sa interview. [Pag-uusapan pa kung] ito ba ay within the power of the Sanggunian to pass an ordinance para gawing legal at kung ito ay lalabas na within our powers, then of course, we will do the necessary action on it at makapagpasa ng isang ordinansa,” he said.

“Kung kailangan naman talaga na ito ay isa talagang batas, magpapasa tayo ng resolution para hilingin sa Congress na yung pending doon tungkol sa issue na ito ay mabilis nilang matalakay para maging ganap na isang batas dahil mahirap naman na pangunahan natin kung ano ang magiging resulta ng committee meeting,” Awat added.

The Backride Palawan issue came out a few weeks ago after riders complained that they were suspended by the company without due process, denied their supposed benefits and that there was an absence of agreement between the employees and the company.

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) warned the public not to patronize the service provider app while the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) recommended to the riders file official complaints to their office.