Pangilinan to taxi, trike, motorcycle delivery drivers: Avail of P7.5B fuel subsidy in 2022 budget

January 18, 2022

A MOTORCYCLE RIDERS’ group says the next vice president of the Philippines should be Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, who has asked them to avail themselves of the expanded coverage of the P7.5 billion Fuel Subsidy Program that now includes drivers of taxi, tricycle, and ride-hailing and delivery services.

“Wala pong duda na ikaw ang nararapat na maging pangalawang pangulo ng ating bansa. Dahil ikaw ang pinaka kwalipikadong katuwang sa pagsusulong ng karapatan at kapakanan ng mamamayang Pilipino,” said the Kagulong group of motorcycle riders in its Facebook post over the weekend after a dialogue with Pangilinan (https://www.facebook.com/kagulong2020/).

For his part, Pangilinan said the continuing rise in fuel prices eats up the irregular earnings of motorcycle riders who earn a living by providing ride-hailing and delivery services.

“Sobrang laki ng kinakain sa kita ng pagtaas ng krudo sa mga nag-d-deliver ng pagkain at iba pang online orders. Kaya naman isinama natin sila sa dapat makatanggap ng fuel subsidy ng DOTr. Merong P7.5 bilyong piso para sa taong 2022 ang nakalaan para dito. Hindi lang jeepney at bus drivers ang pwedeng makinabang dito. I-avail niyo na ito sa DOTr,” the vice-presidential candidate said.

Kagulong, which stands for Kapatiran sa Dalawang Gulong, is made up of motorcycle riders to promote their rights and welfare. Together with Riders4Leni and the Bulacan Motorcycle Riders Confederation, Kagulong pushes for the Riders’ Agenda, which both Vice President Leni Robredo and her running-mate Pangilinan supports.

Kagulong noted Pangilinan’s track record in keeping his promises and championing the cause of the marginalized.

“Estudyante pa lamang si Sen Kiko ay ipinaglaban niya na ang mga karapatan ng mga vendors sa UP na makapagtinda. Kaya sigurado tayo na ipaglalaban niya din ang ating mga karapatan bilang riders laluna’t ngayon ay buong-buo ang kanyang suporta sa ating isinusulong na Rider’s Agenda. Isa kang Kagulong at Katropa!” the group said in its Facebook page.

In the Zoom meeting, Kagulong secretary general Don Pangan presented the Riders’ Agenda, which includes the call for an end to any forms of discrimination against delivery riders and the junking of the Doble Plaka Law. Also included in the agenda are security of livelihood for the delivery riders as well as road safety for everyone.

Kagulong said motorcycle riders are considered an “emerging sector” of the Philippine economy with an estimated  population of 9.8 million. Over 90% are from the ranks of workers, the poor, farmers, and young people who are gig workers in delivery services.

During the Q&A that followed, Pangilinan urged the group to continue organizing as it would ensure that their agenda will be realized.

“Ako wala akong problema na isulong ang mga agenda at mga isyu na binanggit ninyo, pero kasama diyan ay iyong pagpapalakas pa ng ating hanay at pago-organisa ng mga riders,” Pangilinan said.

“Sinasabi ko lang iyon dahil babalik tayo sa basic. Palakasin natin ang ating hanay, mag-organisa tayo. Isulong natin ang mga kapakanan at karapatan ng sektor. Makaka-asa kayo diyan na tutulong tayo gaya ng pagtulong natin ng maraming dekada,” he said.

“Madaling mangako at gagawin yan ng lahat ng kandidato. Papangakuan tayo ng buwan at bituin, ika nga, dahil eleksyon…. Pero ano ang magiging assurance? Yung track record ng politiko, at makakaasa kayo na sa track record natin kasama si Vice President Leni na mula’t sapul ay kakampi ng mga inaapi at mga naghahanap ng matinong trabaho,” he added.

Pangilinan compared the dilemma that motorcycle taxis and delivery riders currently face to the one he resolved four decades ago when he was chairperson of the University Student Council of the University of the Philippines Diliman, where vendors were considered illegal at that time.

The lawmaker recalled his student-activist days at UP, when ambulant vendors of UP Diliman sought his help as they faced discrimination and eviction from the UP Police Force.

“Naalala ko 40 years ago noong ako ay chairman ng UP Student Council, 1985-1986, similar ang problema ng mga riders doon sa problema noon ng mga maliliit na manininda ng UP. Hindi sila ligal at sila ay hinuhuli ng UP Police Force dahil hindi sila kinikilala. Ngunit kami, mga estudyante at mga residente, ay kinikilala namin sila kasi sa kanila kami bumibili,” Pangilinan said.

“Sa akin sila lumapit dahil inaapi sila, may discrimination, at kinumpiska ang kanilang mga paninda. Ang ginawa natin bilang community at youth sector organizer ay inorganisa natin yung mga vendor at binigyan natin ng assistance,” he added.

This led to the legalization and recognition by the UP administration of the ambulant vendors, who up until today provide affordable food to the Iskolars ng Bayan.

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