By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
The Senate is set to start the debates on the bill that will legalize motorcycle taxi operations in the country.
Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday sponsored to the plenary Senate Bill No. 1341, the proposed “Motorcycle-for-Hire Act” allowing and regulating the use of motorcycles for public transport.
Poe, chair of the chamber’s Committee on Public Services, said it is high time for the government to recognize the rising demand for motorcycles-for-hire amid the worsening traffic conditions.
Legalizing motorcycle taxi operations, she added, will also help address safety risks present in both registered motorcycle-for-hire and the “colorums” or habal-habal. It will also improve commuter welfare by giving them the option to choose from legitimate service providers, she added.
“Ano na, 2020 na (It’s already 2020). It is about time that we harness the power of technology to help us address mobility issues. In terms of numbers alone, shared motorcycles are an untapped resource that we should take advantage of,” Poe said in her speech.
“Isabatas na po natin ang pampublikong motorsiklo (We should enact public motorcycle taxis),” she appealed.
SB No. 1341 seeks to amend Republic Act No. 4136, the Land Transportation and Tariff Code, which currently prohibits the use of motorcycles for ferrying commuters.
Under the bill, motorcycle-for-hire is defined “as any two-wheeled motor vehicle registered with the Land Transportation Office, which transports passengers and goods on a for-hire basis, and which may utilize online ride hailing or pre-arranged transportation platforms.”
The motorcycles-for-hire shall secure a certificate of public convenience or a special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Drivers shall also undergo rigorous training, Poe stressed
Other senators have likewise rallied for the passage of the measure.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, in his co-sponsorship speech, said he is confident that President Duterte, as the country’s “biker-in-chief,” will sign into law the motorcycle taxi bill.
He referred to the President’s fondness for motorcycles, saying the latter “had shown the motorbike as a safe ride.”
“So what is good for the President must be good for the ordinary citizen,” Recto said.
Senator Francis Tolentino also backed the proposed legalization of motorcycle taxis.
“Institutionalizing motorcycles for hire will not only provide ease and convenience in commute, but more importantly, it will ensure a viable and alternative mode of transportation for our many kababayan (countrymen) who everyday wage battle against traffic in Metro Manila,” he said.
Senators Richard Gordon and Christopher Go also aired support for the bill.
“We truly believe this is a good measure,” Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said.