Angkas taps UP health experts to make motor taxis safe in time of pandemic

Ride-hailing service provider Angkas has tapped health experts to ensure motorcycle taxi service safe again during the new normal. 

Angkas has tapped the University of the Philippines -College of Public Health to provide guidelines and recommendations for the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and the transport industry.

The UP-CPH-Angkas partnership was founded on the two organizations’ mutual commitment to ensure public health and safety, especially at this time when people are venturing out of their homes as the economy reopens. 

UPCPH assistant professor Dr. Paul Michael Hernandez enumerated some highlights of the health protocol to be implemented for motorcycle drivers and passengers. 

“Riders can disinfect regularly-touched surfaces frequently.  They should also do handwashing and the usual respiratory etiquette. Aside from wearing masks, riders can use their own helmets. The better the ventilation, the higher the wind speed, the more they can access clean air. We can explore barriers in lessening the transmission of the virus once the motorcycle taxis,” he said.

Hernandez also recommended the use of shields between the driver and passengers as additional layer of protection and reduce the risk of transmission.

Angkas’ protective shield was approved by the IATF last week. 

George Royeca, Angkas Chief Transport Advocate said the ride-hailing app has always been about collaboration.

“We want to work with the experts, we want to work to different stakeholders and to help the people. I hope the government regulators will welcome this study,”  Royeca said in a virtual press briefing. 

“I think given the necessary and the proper research study and then implementing and strictly enforcing the health measures based on that research I think there’s a possibility that it will be viable as a form of public transportation during COVID-19,” he added. 

“We leave it to the experts … In our hearts we want to push for it as we believe it is the the most efficient way to travel especially in the urban settings that we have in Metro Manila and other parts of the Philippines,” Royeca said. 

He further said that motorcycle taxis are really safe for public use and minimize the transmission of COVID-19. 

Angkas’ motorcycle taxi operations were suspended in March after the government implemented enhanced community quarantine in Luzon. The pilot study for motorcycle taxis also expired last March 23. 

Dr. Vicente Belizario, Jr.,UP-CPH  agreed that both UPCPH and Angkas emphasize the need for collaboration, especially in the face of a crisis. 

 “Public health is innately collaborative. Kailangan magkatulungan. We continue to understand this disease better, as we tackle health challenges today,” he added. 

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