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TWG raises Angkas' foreign ownership issues

The interagency Technical Working Group (TWG) heading the Motorcycle Taxi Service Pilot Implementation Run has raised concerns over the foreign ownership of DBDOYC Inc. which operates Angkas.

Citing documents from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the TWG said DBDOYC is currently majority foreign-owned, with over 99% under Singaporean Angeline Xiwen Tham.

"(I)n a blatant display of defiance and arrogance, note how Angkas or DBDOYC 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 TWG said.

Under Philippine laws, foreigners are allowed to own up to 40% of businesses related to public services, with domestic entities owning 60%.

GMA News Online has reached out to Angkas for comment on the matter, but no response has been received as of posting time.

According to its Articles of Incorporation filed with the SEC, Angkas positioned itself as a company that provides software applications as its primary purpose.

"To make available software applications that allow users to immediately avail of the services of independent third-party service providers through mobile devices, without itself operating as a public utility or as internet service provider, and any activities necessary, incidental or related to such business, including marketing and consulting support, except advertising, mass media, or other services that require the Corporation to secure a license from the National Telecommunications Commission," its primary purpose read.

The company had an authorized capital stock of P9.820 million, divided into 980,280 shares with par value of P100 apiece.

Tham, president of DBDOYC, subscribed to majority or 98,204 of the shares, leaving only four shares left — one each for David Braian Medrana, Andrea Gutierrez-Besid, Marian Geronimo, and Melvin Villa.

Angkas and the TWG have been at odds, following the decision of the government to place a cap at the number of riders allowed in the pilot study.

The six-month study originally covered only DBDOYC Inc. that operates Angkas, and was originally scheduled to end on December 26, 2019. It was extended until March 23, 2020 and provided for the inclusion of two new players — JoyRide, and Move It.

However, the TWG allotted a cap of 39,000 registered bikers — 10,000 bikers per transport network company (TNC) for Metro Manila, and 3,000 per TNC for Metro Cebu operations.

Angkas, which had 27,000 riders on its platform prior to the cap, would then have to share slots with both JoyRide and Move It.

"Angkas, using the LSCP, is trying to paint a picture that the TWG is involved in corruption in the conduct of the extended study on the viability and safety of motorcycle as taxis, citing vague allegations of  'serious irregularities' in the selection of new participants," said the TWG.

It was referring to the Lawyers for Commuter Safety and Protection (LCSP), which has been vocal on issues over the extended pilot study.

The LCSP last week threatened to file graft charges against TWG officials after Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III endorsed Angkas' rival JoyRide.

"(T)he TWG will not be deterred by threats of lawsuits and charges of corruption. It will continue to discharge its function as mandated by the government, and ensure that the only interest it will uphold and serve is PUBLIC INTEREST," it said. —KBK/RSJ, GMA News