Multi-Party Senatoriables Joined Angkas Safety Fiesta 2022 to Promote Welfare and Protection of 18-million Bikers

Staff ni Anjie
The Angkas Safety Fiesta brought together Angkas bikers and senatorial candidates from various political parties to push for the welfare and protection of the 18-million-strong biker community.

Multi-Party Senatoriables Joined Angkas Safety Fiesta 2022 to Promote Welfare and Protection of 18-million Bikers
Senatoriables, leaders, and the biker community support Angkas’ return to the streets in the recent Angkas Safety Fiesta. Uppermost row: Angkas CEO George Royeca and the bikers preparing to serve the public again. 2nd upper row, from L: former Ifugao governor Teddy Baguilat; Sen. Risa Hontiveros; free legal service counsel Chel Diokno; and Sen. Sonny Trillanes. Middle row, from L: Actor Robin Padilla; former senator JV Ejercito; Atty. Greco Belgica, former head of the Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission; and former presidential spokesman Harry Roque. Lowest row, from L: Health advocate Dr. Minguita Padilla; former PNP Chief Guillermo Eleazar; civic leader and women’s right advocate Samira Gutoc; and John Castriciones, former Secretary of Agrarian Reform. Bottom photo: An estimated 3,000 bikers came out in support. 

The event in Cainta, which drew 3,000 bikes, also highlighted the pioneering ride-hailing service provider's readiness to provide alternate transportation if Metro Manila's pre-pandemic gridlock returns following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

"Around 99 percent of motorcycle owners are low-income breadwinners," according to the report. Angkas CEO George Royeca remarked, "Motorcycles are at the heart of their route to economic freedom and financial independence." "For this reason, we have invited candidates from all political parties." The well-being and livelihoods of 18 million Filipinos, as well as the families they support, are concerns that cut across party lines and affect us all. We hope that 18 million kagulongs are included in the national agenda, regardless of your political leanings," he added.

In 2016, Angkas paved the way for the motorbike taxi sector, providing legitimacy and professional regulation to tens of thousands of habal-habal riders who had previously been criminalized by the government. Daily, motorcycle bikers face numerous problems, including a lack of bike-friendly infrastructure, livelihood benefits, and a proper framework to protect them from being treated as second-class citizens on the road. "The number of motorcyclists in the country is 18 million, three times the number of cars." "Unfortunately, roadways are not designed with bikers in mind," Royeca noted.

Chel Diokno, a senatoriable counsel for the Free Legal Service, backed this view, adding, "...the government's transportation strategy should be about moving people, not cars." The government has prioritized the construction of more roadways for vehicles when we should be concentrating on how to get people where they need to go in the least amount of time. Motorcycles are ideal for this purpose. But, of course, we must also develop our public transportation infrastructure."

Harry Roque, a former presidential spokesman and senatorial contender, believes that Angkas can help resuscitate the economy in the same way as Thailand's bike counterpart has contributed to the country's successful tourism industry: "Akong nakarating ng Bangkok, napakadaming beses akong nakarating ng Bangkok... Dahil sa Bangkok, ang kanilang counterpart na Angkas ang dahilan kung bakit sumigla ang Thailand's tourism and economy." (I've been to Bangkok several times... Angkas' equivalent in Bangkok was the driving force behind Thailand's economic and tourism revival.")

JV Ejercito, a longstanding supporter of Angkas and a motorcycle enthusiast, confirmed Angkas' benefits to the economy, directly addressing them: "...Kung wala kayo... malamang lalo nang bumagsak ang ating ekonomiya." "Ang bumuhay sa ekonomiya ay may-pandemiya." (If you hadn't been there, the economy could have taken a turn for the worse.) You are the ones who kept the economy afloat, particularly throughout the lockdowns and epidemic.")

One of Angkas' early roadblocks to widespread acceptance was the widespread belief that motorcycles are inherently dangerous. To combat this, Angkas offered free training to over 150,000 potential bikers, 70% of whom ultimately failed. Despite millions of rides, the firm has retained a 99.997% safety record due to its stringent standards. This prompted the government to reconsider its position on motorcycles and contemplate legalizing the motorcycle taxi industry.

The Angkas business model's success, combined with its strict safety training routine, has resulted in tens of thousands of new biker entrepreneurs earning at least PHP 1,500-2,000 per day or PHP 45k-60k per month, more than three times the minimum wage. Best of all, because they are self-employed, these motorcyclists have control over their working hours and can devote more time to other priorities, such as family.

"Today, an estimated 18 million motorcycle owners exist, with 99 percent being low-income earners and breadwinners," Royeca explained. "Should they be granted sector status, they will undoubtedly be a formidable economic force that will sufficiently provide for their families while also helping to rebuild the economy by delivering energy and time-efficient mobility and logistics services incomparably," says the report.

As the country advances past COVID-19 and into the rebuilding phase, motorcycles will continue to play an important role. Senator Sonny Trillanes, a hopeful returnee, remarked, "We'll be more and more reliant on motorcycles for logistics." It's really convenient, and many people have discovered it. The paste cannot be returned to the tube. Because it is less expensive, it is for the welfare of society."

"...'Yung presence ninyo, naiba ang landscape ng transportation sa Metro Manila pati na sa buong Pilipinas," said former Philippine National Police (PNP) commander Guillermo Eleazar. ("Your presence altered Metro Manila's and the country's transportation landscapes").

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who is seeking re-election, has emphasized the importance of maintaining a regular dialogue with the motorbike entrepreneur sector in order to understand their needs and address them through suitable legislation: "Napakahalaga ng inyong boses para matukoy natin ano ang mga pangangailangan at problema," says the narrator. "At paano ito maayos na batas maayos na batas maayos na batas maayos na batas maayos na batas.

Motorcycle entrepreneurs proved beneficial to the economy in general, and to people's daily lives in particular, during COVID-19. Even in the toughest lockdowns, motorcycles have been the same engine driving business. "They kept us afloat during the lockdowns," former Ifugao governor and senatorial candidate Teddy Baguilat of the Liberal Party said.

Angkas bikers, in particular, have stepped up and become heroes, providing vital services to individuals in need, supporting and collaborating with various government organizations, and ensuring that our frontline workers get to and from hospitals quickly and safely, often at the considerable personal danger.

Senatorial candidate Dr. Minguita Padilla urged that motorcycle entrepreneurs use potentially life-saving applications: "Sa medical emergency. Ang mga ambulansya na stalled in traffic is nakikita niyo, but ang motorcycles pwedeng dumaan sa traffic. At ginagamit na sila sa ibang bansa, pang first-aid, pang mga emergency medical vehicles." (We frequently see ambulances delayed in traffic during medical situations, whereas motorcycles can quickly navigate through traffic.) Motorcycles are already utilized as emergency medical vehicles in other nations.)

Spare part shortages for tricycle drivers' motorcycles have become a concern, according to Baguilat: "We have to look into how we can manufacture locally made spare parts kung kakayanin (if possible)."

Senatoriable and actor Robin Padilla, who is also an avid rider and is running for Uniteam, stated that fuel prices are the main issue for bikers. "Mga 'tol, isa lang ang ipapangako ko sa inyo," he said, vowing to take action. Isa lang 'tol pag ako pinagkatiwalaan ninyo na mailuklok niyo na maging senador at maging boses niyo. Ang pagawa ng pambansang gasolinahan tayo. "Hindi na dapat 'yan i-tax ng gobyerno," Ibig sabihin. (Brothers, I just have one pledge to make to you.) We will build a nationalized gasoline corporation if you elect me as your Senator and enable me to be your voice. This signifies that the government will not levy a tax on gasoline.)

"While our primary concern today is the wellbeing of 18 million motorbike riders, we are not advocating for a handout," Royeca said. "There is no substitute for motorcycles for many logistical and mobility-related jobs. They have always been and are becoming even more important to the country's commerce. Even today, bikers are seen as second-class citizens on the road and in the legal system. Despite their enormous economic contribution, their livelihoods are not protected by the law."

"To the 18 million individuals who rely on two wheels for a living," Royeca said, "we want you to have proper representation and strong champions who will truly look at what you're doing, how you can prosper, how you can be better, and also fight for your rights." "At the end of the day, that's all we want), sana po hindi na po sila (that they are no longer treated as second-class citizens)." In the case of criminals, hindi na po sila tignan (it would be good if they were no longer regarded as criminals). "Until we can establish it, this is something that we will always be fighting for," he added.

Senator Win Gatchalian, represented by Jerry Esplana; Congresswoman Cristal Bagatsing of Manila City's 5th District; Senatorial contenders John Castriciones, Samira Gutoc, Alex Lacson, Greco Belgica, Ariel Lim; and the Abante Pilipinas Party List were among those who spoke to the throng. Senatorial candidate Jopet Sison was also present. Senators Alan Peter Cayetano and Joel Villanueva both sent supportive remarks.

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