Bill regulating ‘habal-habal’ operations filed

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/18 August) – In a bid to control the proliferation of “habal-habals” or motorcycles-for-hire here and in other parts of the country, South Cotabato 1st District Rep. Pedro Acharon Jr. has filed a bill recognizing and regulating their operations.

Acharon said he filed House Bill number 39 or the proposed “Motorcycles-For-Hire Act of 2010,” which would mainly grant local government units (LGUs) the authority to regulate the use of motorcycles for public conveyance in limited areas.

“This essentially aims to protect both drivers and residents who have been patronizing this mode of transportation,” he said in a statement.

Acharon, who is on his first term at the House of Representatives, said he came up with the proposed measure to primarily curb the rising number of unregulated motorcycle-for-hires in various parts of the country.

He noted that there are remote areas that mainly depend on such mode of transportation in either transporting their products or moving from one place to another.

But since motorcycle-for-hires are not recognized by the government as a regular mode of transportation, their operations are considered illegal and not covered by any insurance policy.

“Although these motorcycles-for-hire are not properly registered and considered illegal, we cannot really stop them from operating because there are many areas that are not yet covered by regular modes of transportation. In fact, these motorcycles are the only means of transportation in some remote areas,” Acharon said.

To resolve such problem, he said it’s just proper to recognize their operations and at the same time subject them to some regulations to prevent their proliferation, especially in urban areas.

“We want to give them the chance to register their vehicles as public transport and be governed by the law on common carrier,” he said.

Under the proposed law, Acharon said the LGUs will be mandated to receive, process and evaluate all applications for the granting of franchises to operate “motorcycles-for-hire” within their areas.

He said all applications would be endorsed to the local legislative councils for the issuance of franchises and “for hire” license plates.

“But the registered habal-habals will not be allowed to operate, except to cross, along the national highways or on any road that allows a maximum speed greater than 40 kilometers per hour,” he said, adding the LGU that have jurisdiction over the specific roads can control and designate their routes.

He said a proposed fine of P5,000 will be meted to the owner of the motorcycle-for-hire who would fail to register their operations. (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)