THE Cebu City Government has set aside an additional budget of P3.7 million for the purchase of 1,500 sacks of rice that will be distributed to drivers of the motorcycle ride-hailing firm Angkas and habal-habal in the city.
Councilor Margarita Osmeña, who is in her final term, passed a resolution that would enable City Hall to use the City’s share of Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. funds.
The City Council approved the resolution.
Before the resolution’s passage, Delfin Adolfo, officer-in-charge of the Two-wheeled Motorized Vehicle Monitoring Coordination and Assistance Unit, sent a letter to outgoing Mayor Tomas Osmeña last March 15, 2019, telling the latter that at least 1,500 Angkas and habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) drivers were affected by a Supreme Court (SC) decision.
Last December, the SC issued a temporary restraining order against a Mandaluyong court ruling that barred authorities from intervening in Angkas’ operations.
After the ruling, authorities started a crackdown on Angkas and habal-habal drivers. Last May 8, 2019, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade signed the guidelines on the pilot operations of motorcycle taxis for six months in a move to study further the legalization of the service.
The DOTr did not include habal-habal drivers in pilot operations.
Early this year, City Hall purchased 6,000 sacks of rice worth P15 million for drivers affected by the SC ruling.
The mayor’s action was criticized by outgoing Councilor Pastor Alcover Jr.,who described it as a political move that was meant to get the drivers’ votes.
Alcover delivered his privileged speech last February, asking for the list of the beneficiaries.
Each sack of rice cost the City P2,500. Only one company participated in the bidding. (FROM PAC OF SUPERBALITA CEBU / KAL)