Woke up to news that throngs of Angkas riders had a unity ride in Manila this morning so we headed to their press conference in White Plains in Quezon City. It’s a Sunday, pretty early, but I have noticed these guys who were speaking were all passionate, some angry, some are sad, definitely, they have some reasons to be like that now that there is a TRO pointed at their operations to cease and got all their riders, the riding public annoyed because among all the days they chose the busiest one in the year to do it.
Romeo Maglunsod the Chairman of Solid Manila Riders says “We earn and eat our daily meals through work provided for by this ride app and it is the government that is stopping or becoming a hindrance rather than help us. I hope it won’t be until the time where we have to explain to our kids that they will not eat today, I don’t know how to explain this to our kids and I hope you see how we both have benefited from this especially the professional riders.”
Jobert Bolano of MRO “We have been here since the rise of popularity of motorcycles. We have been in contact with riders that service far flung areas that this has been beneficial with, motor taxis are using technological advancements and safety is prioritized. To help mobilize people, motor taxis are screened, documentation, exams, skills assessments, even higher than usual international standards. On top of that, even seminars are being given and not just asking random strangers like what Habal habals do that are not regulated at all by government agencies. We have asked the government, we are not against the system but the system is against us. We have asked the congress already to act upon this model so we an answer to their call of moving people safer in our vehicles. Erring riders are rated and reported by the actual customers, higher level of progress but it always have been overlooked.”
Rod Cruz of Arangkada says “If you are an ordinary rider and you ride Habals who do not have formal training, who did you wrong, and is out of the app entirely, how can you be sure of your safety? How can you be sure of that person? Why does the government close their eyes on illegal habals and not allow safer ones out on the streets? Any form of ride can have accidents, we have been called criminals, yet we only wanted to help ease traffic in Manila.”
Ryan Rillera the President of Taguig Spartans says “What will we do with our customers who only want to get home early? What do we do with riders affected by this all? I have been working here for 2 years, to help people, especially those in a hurry, what will we do with them? We do not want illegal drivers out there to drive them home instead. We do not want them to met an accident and not be liable for anything, we are willing to be regulated, we are willing to undergo whatever the government asks us to do.”
George Royeca the Head of Regulatory and Public Affairs of Angkas days “This is the largest community ride in the country showing how safe, affordable, reliable riding a motorcycle is. We need education and we are not here to be a hindrance to anyone, we are just fighting for the rights of motorcycle riders. We will comply with the government, we will respect them, but I hope they would be sensitive to the call of these people, these families, to support an industry that has helped them, become their livelihood even if the government chooses not to. Yes there are laws that need to be passed, we are lucky to have several of them supporting our cause, we need Senators and Congressmen to have certain provisions or laws passed to the motor taxi would be back in operations and we will appeal to the Supreme Court and hope they will listen to our call. Right now we are continuously training motorcycle riders and we want to further train the whole country of riders even if they are not part of our system. That is our promise to the government and we hope together with agencies, we will have a solution to better help our riders, their families and the riding public. We hope people stop criminalizing motorcycle riding and help us support our riders.”
David Medrana Head of Operations for Angkas adds “Our current projects like the Angkas Buhay will still be implemented soon but we will prioritize what we need to do now since we have to help our riders for that cause. We are really proud of that project too.”
I guess there are still a lot of hurdles in order to make these all legal. Though I don’t ride Angkas because my head is too big for their helmets (big brain eh!), those who do benefit from this need their voices to be heard as well. We hope they become regulated, professionalized and be something of help to ease traffic in Manila, I hope you noticed it bas been hell already especially during the holidays and the brightest thing the government does is remove this transport alternative.
That bothers me. I am hopeful though they have a solution to that because if this is already helping a lot of people, they need to do their homework.
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