Mayor tells Congress what will kill Cebu econ­omy

Mayor Os­meña, in a speech be­fore House body, says Cebu econ­omy won’t sur­vive with­out ser­vices from ha­bal-ha­bal

Sun.Star Cebu - - FRONT PAGE -

Cebu’s econ­omy will not sur­vive with­out the op­er­a­tion of ha­bal-ha­bal (mo­tor­cy­cle taxis), Cebu City Mayor To­mas Os­meña told mem­bers of Congress in a com­mit­tee hear­ing last Mon­day, Jan. 14.

In his speech, which was also posted on his Face­book page, Os­meña said that for many Ce­buanos, in­clud­ing school chil­dren in the moun­tain barangays and busi­ness process out­sourc­ing (BPO) work­ers who need to go to work when jeep­neys are no longer avail­able, ha­bal-ha­bal is the only op­tion.

“For hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple, this is more than just a mat­ter of con­ve­nience. It is a mat­ter of sur­vival. Cebu’s econ­omy will not sur­vive with­out the ha­bal-ha­bal. The BPOs alone bring P7 bil­lion a month to Cebu City’s econ­omy, and al­most half of the 150,000 BPOs work­ing here are voice agents who work on West­ern time. Be­cause it is so stress­ful, the at­tri­tion rate in this sec­tor is al­ready four to eight per­cent even with­out tak­ing away their main form of trans­porta­tion. What more now when they have to look over their shoul­ders in the mid­dle of the night not for crim­i­nals, but from the gov­ern­ment that is sup­posed to take care of them?” he said.

Os­meña ap­peared be­fore some mem­bers of Congress and was ac­com­pa­nied by Rep. Raul del Mar (Cebu City, North Dis­trict) and Rep. Ro­drigo Abel­lanosa (Cebu City, South Dis­trict).

In 2017, Del Mar filed House Bill (HB) 6909, which sought to give pow­ers to lo­cal gov­ern­ment units to reg­u­late ha­bal-ha­bal.

Os­meña said that af­ter the com­mit­tee hear­ing last Mon­day, a res­o­lu­tion will be drafted to let the Depart­ment of Trans­porta­tion (DOTr) re­lease an ex­ec­u­tive or­der al­low­ing the op­er­a­tion of ha­bal-ha­bal by virtue of the pub­lic wel­fare clause of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

DOTr will re­port to the com­mit­tee in the next sched­uled hear­ing in two weeks.

Os­meña has been vo­cal in his sup­port for the op­er­a­tion of ha­bal-ha­bal in the city in­clud­ing the mo­tor­cy­cle ride-hail­ing ap­pli­ca­tion Angkas.

The mayor ad­mit­ted that there are abuses within the ha­bal-ha­bal in­dus­try, but many of these is­sues like safety, clean­li­ness, pric­ing, among oth­ers, were al­ready ad­dressed by Angkas.

“Be­fore they were made il­le­gal, Angkas was do­ing the gov­ern­ment’s job bet­ter than gov­ern­ment. So why did we end Angkas? Many of the peo­ple who use ha­bal-ha­bal use them be­cause they have no choice. All we in gov­ern­ment are do­ing is mak­ing crim­i­nals out of or­di­nary peo­ple. In­stead of driv­ing them un­der­ground, what we should do, what we must do, is take what is a daily fact of life for many peo­ple and reg­u­late it to make it safer and bet­ter,” Os­meña said.

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