Tom: We can’t live without habalhabal
“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.