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Philippine ride-hailing firm ‘sorry’ for likening service to sex

MANILA: A popular ride-hailing firm in the Philippines issued a public apology yesterday after touching off a social media firestorm with a claim its motorcycle-based service was “like sex”. Angkas deleted the tweet and issued a disclaimer and apology after being called out by the Philippine police and other irate users of the mobile phone-based service. “Angkas is like sex. It’s scary the first time but fun to do over and over again,” the company had posted in a mixture of English and Filipino on its official Twitter account on Monday.

Chief executive Angeline Tham, in a statement yesterday, said: “Safety has always been our brand’s priority, and we apologize for how our recent tweet has made users feel unsafe and cast doubt on the integrity of our service.” “Sex should never be used to create shame, fear, or disgust, and certainly not used lightly for the sake of some buzz,” Tham added. Angkas, literally pillion rider, ingeniously makes use of motorbikes to get its passengers through Manila’s notorious traffic gridlocks, giving it an edge over its car-based ride-sharing app rivals.

While the post was later deleted, it did not escape the attention of the police, who posted a screenshot of it on Twitter with a call for regulators of the transportation industry to take action. “This is not acceptable to commuters. Angkas will scare people off with this. This is not promoting public safety in transport business anymore,” the Philippine National Police said. However, other social media users also hit out at the police for its alleged double standard.

Some posted links to news reports about Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte cracking jokes in public about rape, which critics allege trivialize sexual violence. “Can we call your attention to this person too? This person is not promoting public safety and decency anymore,” Twitter user Petey Pablo posted. “Call out your president first before other people,” said another Twitter user called Drew Arellano. Duterte aides have previously defended the president’s crude comments, saying they were only intended to make people laugh.- AFP

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