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Transport strike demonstrates the necessity for a motorcycle-for-hire measure to be passed

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In view of the recent statewide transportation strike, a party-list senator on Thursday highlighted the necessity of passing a bill permitting and regulating the use of motorcycles for hire as public transportation.

Rep. Margarita Nograles of the Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party list said in a statement that the need for alternative transportation outside of the conventional public utility vehicles was highlighted by the fact that commuters could still find rides using motorcycle-hailing apps and even “colorum” or illegal motorcycles known as “habal-habals” during the transport strike.

“We are appreciative that the impact of the statewide transit strike was lessened by the presence of our motorcycle taxis, including Angkas and Joyride. These motorbike taxis continued to provide rides for thousands of commuters. As the transport strike clearly shows, motorcycle taxis may be both incredibly convenient and quite dangerous if they are not properly regulated.

She claimed that the statewide transportation strike should serve as a wake-up call for Congress to swiftly consider enacting legislation governing motorcycle-for-hire services in order to curtail the growth of unlicensed and unregistered motorcycle taxis.

Nograles argued that the government should take action to safeguard the welfare and safety of the drivers and the riding public because motorcycle taxis and other motorbike-for-hire services had become a regular part of the lives of tens of thousands of Filipinos.

Before businesses like Angkas and Joyride began operating, their services were a regular part of our daily life. These habal-habals and the so-called Skylab serve as our main modes of transportation in Mindanao. It’s past time for us to seriously control how they operate, she continued.

A law governing their operation would shield them against “whimsical” policy changes, crackdowns, and even extortion, she said, noting that motorcycle taxis and delivery services have grown to be one of the largest job-producing enterprises in the nation.

She claimed that the idea would also establish guidelines, requirements, and possibly fines for the use of these motorcycles for hire.

She said that it would also enforce accountability on the side of the drivers, who are required to ensure the safety of the passengers they are carrying or the cargo that has been entrusted to them.

Prior to the planned phaseout of traditional jeepneys to be replaced with electric jeepneys, transportation organizations opposed the plan, arguing that they needed stronger financial support because they were unable to repay the significant loan under the public utility vehicle modernization program (PUVMP).

After a meeting between the leaders of the transport groups and the Secretaries of the Presidential Communications Office and the Office of the Executive Secretary, Cheloy Garafil and Roy Cervantes, the statewide strike, which was scheduled to last from Monday through Saturday, was called off.

When the PUVMP is ultimately implemented, the government will ensure that jeepney drivers and operators do not lose their source of income, according to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

“Ang problema na kanilang sinasabi ay baka hindi sila mapa-utang para makapag bili ng bagong sasakyan. Kaya ‘yan ang tinitignan natin ngayon, na tiyakin na walang mawawalan ng trabaho dahil hindi nakapagbili ng electric vehicle pagdating ng panahon. Wala pa tayo doon (I think the problem they mentioned is they might not be able to get a loan to buy a new vehicle. So, we are studying that to make sure that no one loses a job just because he could not afford to buy an electric vehicle when the time comes. We’re not there yet),” Marcos said.

According to the Land Transportation and Franchising Board, the PUVMP aims to create a reorganized, contemporary, effectively managed, and environmentally sustainable transportation sector where drivers and operators have reliable, sufficient, and dignified livelihoods and commuters reach their destinations quickly, safely, and comfortably.

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