SEN. Robin Padilla has been asked to advocate for the timely passage of legislation legalizing the motorbike taxi business, said to provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of motorbike owners, as well as ‘more versatile public transport’ .
Francis Juan, president of the Move It Coalition, said motorcycle taxis – still illegal under existing law but operating temporarily for data collection to guide Congress on the details of its bill – would have was able to save the day for thousands of commuters stranded by Tropical Storm Paeng a few days ago.
The traffic jam caused by Paeng brought jeepneys and buses to a standstill, leaving commuters helpless in the rain for hours without a ride, he recalled, while noting that “if motorcycle taxis had been fully mobilized and legalized , they would have been more numerous to serve the commuters.
At the same time, the leader of Move It assured that “motorcycle taxis can transport passengers in traffic and, in normal situations, to destinations insufficiently served by public transport”, citing for example Bonifacio Global City of EDSA and internal roads.
He stressed the need for “a mix of transport modes to give commuters a choice”.
The transportation advocate recalled that a technical working group (TWG) has already submitted its report on motorcycle taxi activity to Congress.
In the 18th Congress, the House of Representatives, recognizing the urgent need to create jobs and provide public services to commuters, passed the enabling bill in one day even though no counterpart bill was tabled in the Senate.
“Three years of studying the technical working group with zero production from our politicians,” Juan lamented. “Every day late only benefits us – Angkas, Joyride and Move It – while the public, the commuters, pay the price. This must stop. We therefore call on Senator Padilla to take the cudgel for the poor and needy,” said the leader of Move It.
Besides, he pointed out that thousands of motorbike taxi owners have to earn money to pay their monthly depreciation and feed their families. Due to the legal loophole, some 200,000 illegal motorcycle taxis, or habal habal, risk being apprehended every day but continue to ply the roads of Metro Manila to survive.
“Protect the drivers and commuters, not the businessmen who own the three motorcycle taxi companies under the TWG,” he said.
Moreover, he stressed, the government should stop capping the number of operators and the number of motorcycle taxis because monopolies and duopolies are prohibited by the Constitution.
“Promote competition so that the service improves. With competition, prices could even drop. Senator Padilla, please lead the way and protect the public,” Juan said.