Tom: We can’t live without ha­bal­ha­bal

The Freeman - - FRONT PAGE - Jean Marvette A. De­me­cillo Staff Mem­ber

“We can­not live without the ha­bal­ha­bal. The in­dus­try will not sur­vive.”

So said Cebu City Mayor To­mas Os­meña dur­ing the Metro Manila De­vel­op­ment Com­mit­tee meet­ing in Manila yes­ter­day af­ter­noon.

Os­meña was in­vited to at­tend the meet­ing on the pend­ing House Bill No. 6909 which aims to reg­u­late mo­tor­cy­cle for hire known as ha­bal­ha­bal or Angkas.

The mayor said Cebu's econ­omy will not sur­vive without the ha­bal­ha­bal.

“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,” he told mem­bers of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

In his speech posted in his of­fi­cial Face­book page, Os­meña said he did not at­tend the meet­ing to de­fend more of the ha­bal­ha­bal driv­ers but to rep­re­sent the rid­ing pub­lic.

He said 60 per­cent of the land area of the city is moun­tain­ous which means that sev­eral res­i­dents are liv­ing there and they do not have ef­fi­cient mass tran­sit that is why they use mo­tor­cy­cles-for-hire.

As of now, the op­er­a­tions of ha­bal­ha­bal and Angkas have stopped be­cause of the rul­ing of the Supreme Court.

Os­meña ad­mit­ted that there are some ha­bal­ha­bal that are roam­ing the city's streets.

“What we're teach­ing them to do is to dis­obey the law be­cause it's a mat­ter of sur­vival. As a mayor, how can I teach peo­ple to be law abid­ing cit­i­zens when it is the law that is bru­tal­iz­ing them? When it is the law that is wrong?” he added.

Os­meña said the Con­gress should do some­thing about it and stop mak­ing the ha­bal­ha­bal driv­ers to be crim­i­nals by dis­obey­ing the law that is not serv­ing them.

He also asked the Con­gress to be more re­spon­sive to the needs of the or­di­nary peo­ple like the ha­bal­ha­bal driv­ers and the rid­ing pub­lic.

The mayor said ha­bal­ha­bal has been a good al­ter­na­tive of trans­porta­tion be­cause of the wors­en­ing traf­fic sit­u­a­tion in Metro Cebu.

“You can­not stop the ha­bal­ha­bal. You are just mak­ing crim­i­nals out of them. That's what I think is hap­pen­ing,” he added.

Os­meña also cited that it is ironic for the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion that is push­ing for fed­er­al­ism when the City of Cebu is ask­ing to make its own de­ci­sion and reg­u­late the op­er­a­tions of ha­bal­ha­bal.

“It's so ironic that this ad­min­is­tra­tion is push­ing for fed­er­al­ism and, here we are, a lo­cal gov­ern­ment unit that is ask­ing to make our own de­ci­sion be­cause we know how to ad­judge the de­ci­sion bet­ter,” he said.

“Gov­ern­ment must be re­spon­sive. The essence of fed­er­al­ism is to make gov­ern­ment more re­spon­sive to the peo­ple we serve by do­ing as much as pos­si­ble at the lo­cal level. We must re­act to their needs, not tell them what they need,” he added.

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