Motorcycle taxi service providers like Angkas will need to acquire a resolution from Congress before they can resume operations, Malacañang said Wednesday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) has endorsed the drafting of an “appropriate Congress resolution” on resuming pilot studies on motorcycle taxis.

“Hindi kasi pupuwede naman na mag-operate na walangfranchise pero kung papayagan naman po ng Kongresothrough a resolution yung continuation ng pilot study prior to the approval of a franchise eh mapapayagan naman po sila (They can’t operate without a franchise but if Congress allows them through a resolution calling for the continuation of the pilot study prior to the approval of the franchise, they will be allowed),” he said in an interview over CNN Philippines’ The Source.

However, Roque said the “best solution” is to pass the law granting a franchise to motorcycle taxis.

“The best solution of course is for Congress to pass the franchise as law already but we leave that to the sound judgement of Congress,” he said.

Last week, Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddes Hope Libiran said motorcycle taxis would not be back on the streets unless Congress passes a law granting their franchise.

The Motorcycle Taxi (MC Taxi) Technical Working Group (TWG) has completed the pilot run of MC Taxis back in March.

The Department of Transportation said it will support a Congress resolution that will serve as legal basis to allow the resumption of motorcycle taxis’ operation.

One-seat apart

Roque also defended anew decision of the Cabinet to approve the “one-seat-apart” policy among commuters in public transport amid the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

He said the lack of public transport remains a problem for commuters who need to physically report for work.

“Bagamat 50 percent bukas ang ating ekonomiya under GCQ…e kulang po ang transportasyon. Thirty percent lang yung nabibigay nating transportation doon sa 50 percent na workforce na pumapasok na (Even if 50 percent of our economy is open under GCQ, we lack transportation. Only 30 percent of our transportation is available for 50 percent of the workforce physically reporting for work),” he said.

As long as health and safety protocols are observed, Roque said commuters can prevent transmission of Covid-19.

The Cabinet also approved the recommendation to expand rail capacity to 30 to 50 percent; expand the number of provincial buses, motorcycle taxi, shuttles, and transport network vehicle service (TNVS), and accelerate use of service contracting to expand bus and jeep services.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board opened 44 additional routes of the traditional public utility jeepney (PUJs) and allowed 4,820 more traditional PUJs to ply their routes in Metro Manila. (PNA)