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
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.