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Habal-habal drivers to get rice subsidy

By: Morexette Marie B. Erram December 17,2018 - 10:28 PM

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Concerned on the plight of habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) and Angkas drivers who were affected by the decision of the Supreme Court to suspend Angkas operations, Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña said he will be providing ‘emergency assistance’ for them this Christmas.

Osmeña announced yesterday that the city will be allocating P15 million to purchase sacks of rice for the around 6,000 habal-habal drivers in Cebu City.

His request, which was endorsed through a resolution by Councilor Mary Ann de los Santos, was also approved by the council when they held a special session yesterday morning.

The council also passed a corollary motion by opposition Councilor Raymond Alvin Garcia urging the House of Representatives to fast track the reenactment of a law that will recognize habal-habal operations as legal.

“I’m very worried about this. Not only for the habal-habal drivers but also for the riding public. We have to respond to this. We can do something for the drivers. The city is appropriating P15 million for rice for all habal-habal drivers,” said Osmeña.

He added that each habal-habal driver will be given one sack of rice, while more for those from the mountain barangays, where habal-habal is the only mode of transportation.

“All habal-habal drivers will get about more or less one sack of rice. The ones in the mountain barangays, we will give them more,” Osmeña said.

The city is targeting to distribute all the rice assistance before end of December. The funds used for the rice assistance will be taken from the city’s share from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

The mayor said he is also planning to hold a Mass for all the habal-habal and Angkas drivers from Cebu City to give them spiritual boost. The date, however, is yet to be finalized.

Osmeña said he will be inviting key officials from the national government for the Mass in an attempt to bridge the gap between them and the drivers.

“We are going to have a Mass to ask blessings from up there and to help divert the agitation of the drivers to something more spiritual. We will be inviting Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma to officiate the Mass,” Osmeña said.

“We will try to invite the President, and that should not be misconstrued as a protest. It’s just a measure of asking them to listen to the plight of the people and try to respond with a remedial legislation to legitimize the what is already a reality of today. We will also try to invite the Speaker of the House, and the Senate President,” he added.

In the meantime, De los Santos, in a separate interview, said the council has also requested the executive department to immediately start validating the list of habal-habal drivers in the city.

“The beneficiaries have to be verified under the guidelines set by the executive,” she said.

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TAGS: drivers, get, habal-habal, rice, subsidy

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