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Tuesday, March 26, 2019
CEBU

Bzzzzz: Alcover wants Angkas excluded from proposed bill; del Mar version seeks to lump it with 'habal-habal'

CEBU. Cebu City Councilor Pastor "Jun" Alcover (right) and Angkas riders. (SunStar File)

FIRST, people are talking about...

* PRESIDENT DUTERTE'S COMMENT ON COA. Tuesday (January 8), before a "barangay summit" on peace and order in Pasay City, the President cussed the Commission on Audit, an independent constitutional body: "Ah, p**ng COA yan, leche, yung COA may mali talaga. Mag-kidnap tayo ng taga COA, lagay natin dito, torture natin dito. 'Tang ina."

READ: Palace: Duterte's 'kidnap, torture' remark vs COA just a 'joke'

Take out the cussing and the threat of kidnapping and torture. What mistakes was he referring to? Mistakes discovered by COA in government agencies or COA's mistakes in its job?

* KRIS AQUINO'S ADMISSION SHE USED INTERNET 'ARMY' TOO. That means, people with capacity to wage an internet war have done it too, not just the government's troll forces.

Why only 'habal-habal'

Reelectionist Cebu City Councilor Pastor "Jun" Alcover, in a privileged speech Tuesday (January 8) before the City Council, criticized Mayor Tomas Osmeña for putting Angkas on the same level as "habal-habal." Alcover said Angkas is big business while the "habal-habal" is individual business initiative.

That may need further explanation as "habal-habal" and Angkas are both engaged in the motorcycle-for-hire business. Angkas though is organized and is run like a fleet of taxicabs while each "habal-habal" driver operates on his own.

It is true that Alcover filed a bill seeking to recognize "habal-habal," not Angkas, which probably did not exist yet at the time or was not run under the present management setup and system of operation. The Alcover bill, filed in 2012 as House Bill #6046 when he was a party-list representative, wanted "to strike a balance" between vehicle safety and the need for transportation, especially in rural areas. Alcover said the other legislators then, except Ace Durano of the fifth district, did not support the proposal.

The version of Representative Raul del Mar of Cebu City north, HB #6909, was filed in 2017, five years after the Alcover bill and more than one year before Mayor Tomas Osmeña made a lot of noise over the motorcycle-for-hire issue. Recently, Tomas announced he had asked del Mar and Rep. Bebot Abellanosa of Cebu City south to push the legislation.

Differences of versions

Apparently, there are differences on major provisions of the bill: They include:

[1] The scope of coverage: Alcover wanted only "habal-habal" for the vehicle to be covered while the del Mar version does not distinguish: "habal-habal or angkas." Alcover's bill would've raised the question of equal protection. If individual-owned motorcycles for hire are covered, why would they be barred if the owners were organized such as those of units under Angkas?

[2] Rules to operate. The Alcover bill requires the number of passengers to be not more than four and not more than 300 kilos of cargo. The del Mar bill leaves the rules to the Department of Transportation, laying only the bases of public safety and impact on traffic. Both versions require third party-liability insurance.

[3] Who issues franchise. The del Mar bill provides that the local government (town or city) shall accept and process applications for a franchise. Meaning, no "habal-habal or angkas" if the vehicle is not registered and the operator granted a franchise to operate within the locality. No mention of that in stories about the Alcover version.

So what? Alcover version is out

While Jun Alcover is no longer in the House and his bill was not re-filed, there are other bills filed on the same subject by other lawmakers. They are being consolidated and the provisions that clash need to be reconciled.

Local motorcycle-for-hire drivers may do well to express their opinions, just as other sectors, including elected officials like Alcover, must weigh in too. What exactly makes Angkas offensive to the purposes of the proposed law?

***

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