Motorcycle ride-hailing platform Angkas released an apology after it was called out by the Philippine National Police on Twitter for a post that likened riding a motorcycle for the first time to sex.
The company admitted that it was a “misstep” on its part and said it only meant to deliver the message that Angkas is a service the commuting public can “trust” once they have tried it.
“Safety has always been our brand’s priority, and we apologize for how our recent Tweet made users feel unsafe and cast doubt on the integrity of our service,” it said.
“Words and analogies are meant to help us connect with our audience, but in this case, we’ve missed the mark. We take full responsibility for that misstep,” Angkas continued.
— Angkas (@angkas) July 31, 2019
The company also issued an apology to its bikers and assured the public that they are “trained to respect their riders and make them feel as comfortable as possible.”
Angkas marketing head Walter Wong previously admitted in a 2018 interview that the company has special rules riders must follow when it comes to servicing female passengers.
Four days ago, the motorcycle taxi service announced a promo code for first-time riders but it soon received the attention of some Filipinos who perceived it as “obscene.”
Some even tagged the accounts of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board and “Bawal Bastos” law author Sen. Risa Hontiveros.
A user claiming to be a minor was shocked with the tweet as well.
Another Twitter user called the post “crass” and reminded Angkas that it has female and young passengers who use their service.
Independent writer Katrina Stuart Santiago described Angkas’ tweet as “bullsh*t” and noted how commuting for females in the Philippines has become a challenge due to possibilities of being sexually harassed or assaulted by her fellow riders or the driver.
“Hard enough to be a female commuter in this country without this kind of kabastusan,” she pointed out as she retweeted the post for emphasis.
What the hell is this bullsh*t pretending to be social media content. And as you can see it encouraged a host of OTHER offensive comments, mostly chauvinist. Hard enough to be a female commuter in this country without this kind of kabastusan. @angkas #kabastusan #socialmediaads pic.twitter.com/B5P35yRXZn
— katrinastuartsantiago (@radikalchick) July 30, 2019
Angkas’ tweet soon caught the attention of the PNP. The police organization argued that the post would only instill “fear” among its passengers and potential riders due to the suggestive content.
“This is not promoting public safety in transport business anymore,” PNP said.
It also tagged the company in a follow-up tweet.
— PNP Tweets (@PNPhotline) July 31, 2019
‘Kabastusan’ female commuters encounter
There have been countless cases of women being sexually harassed or assaulted in their commutes, be it inside public transportations or while walking on the streets.
Last May, a female tourist shared how she and her companions felt sexually harassed by a bus driver and conductor who made double entendres during the ride.
A video clip also went viral on April where certain female jeepney passengers teamed up against a man who leered and attempted to sit beside a woman despite the wide space available in the vehicle.
Another jeepney rider in March recounted a harrowing experience wherein a fellow passenger inexplicably touched her breast.
The post prompted other female commuters on social media to share their own experiences on public transportation harassment.
A research firm recently listed the Philippines as one of the “most dangerous destinations for women,” citing it has “deeply entrenched patriarchal attitudes” from certain religious and cultural beliefs that make females fear for their well-being than in other nations.