TWO groups are supporting the move to regulate the operation of habal-habal or motorcycles-for-hire in Cebu City.
During the public hearing of Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr.’s proposed ordinance granting the Cebu City Government the power to collect regulatory franchise taxes from habal-habal operators yesterday, the Pardo Motorcycle Association and Capitol Site Barangay Council said they are for its approval.
However, they want the council to incorporate several conditions in the proposed measure.
Capitol Site Barangay Councilor Expedito Villarin said their barangay council would like a standard fare rate to be imposed.
“There are habal-habal drivers who ask for P100 going to the Cebu City Zoo. If the operation of the habal-habal will be legalized, there should be a tariff,” he said.
Villarin said they also want routes set for habal-habal drivers in order to prevent other drivers from plying in their village.
Around 100 habal-habal drivers from Barangays Lahug, Kalunasan, Guadalupe and Kamputhaw go to Capitol Site, causing traffic congestion, particularly in the Cebu Provincial Capitol area, he said.
“If this ordinance will be approved, we are sure that the habal-habal drivers in our barangay will be minimized,” Villarin also said.
Marwin Balabad, president of the Pardo Motorcycle Association, said they are in favor of regulating the habal-habal drivers since it will be a way of legalizing their operation.
He said that enforcers of the Cebu City Transportation Office usually apprehend them when they ply the city’s streets.
“Once ma-regulate na, di na mi dakopon (Once we’re regulated, we won’t be apprehended anymore),” he said.
Vice Mayor Edgardo Labella, for his part, asked the Pardo group to help in the government’s fight against illegal drugs, saying he heard reports that motorcycle drivers were being used as drug couriers.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 Director Ahmed Cuizon, who also appeared before the council yesterday, asked the councilors to consider the overall traffic plan in the city and habal-habal operations’ impact on traffic, more so if they will be allowed to use national roads.
He said LTFRB has no jurisdiction over tricycles and motorcycles. The Local Government Code allows the local government units, though, to regulate them.
“The different types of public land transportation over which the LTFRB has franchising jurisdiction are limited to minimum four-wheeled motorized vehicles. At present, these categories include trucks-for-hire, buses, taxis, tourist transport services, GT express, shuttle services and public utility jeepneys,” he said.
He also asked the council to get inputs from other agencies such as the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Department of Transportation regarding the proposed ordinance.
Alcover wants to grant the City the power to issue a regulatory franchise to operators of habal-habal to ensure the safety of the riding public.
He, however, said that the City will not interfere with the registration of vehicles, which is the function of the LTO.
Under his proposed measure, Alcover wants to implement uniform fare rates, require operators to keep their vehicles well-maintained, and require drivers to be updated on the safety and health standards required by law.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on November 30, 2016.
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