Habal-habal drivers rejoiced over Mayor Richard Gomez’ announcement that the city government would be donating standard helmets to identified motorcycle terminals in the city. The mayor made the announcement during an emergency consultative meeting he called with the motorcycle drivers on Wednesday, May 10.
Each of the 21 identified habal-habal terminals would be getting 20 helmets with ICC (Import Commodity Clearance) stickers for a total investment of 420 helmets. The initiative is in compliance with the helmet ordinance of the city under the Gomez administration for the of the drivers and their passengers.
The mayor said he is obliged to implement the law as the local chief executive. He, however, said that although they are not recognized by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) as legal commercial motorists, he does not want to deprive them of their source of income.
“I don’t want to treat you as illegal nga negosyante,” the mayor said, adding that he wants to improve their livelihood, but they also have to ensure the safety of their passengers by wearing protective helmets. He also considered that helmets are expensive, the reason why many motorists fail to adhere to the law.
The mayor saw the need to help them out by deciding to donate protective helmets that the group of drivers can use alternately. With an estimated 760 habal-habal drivers operating in Ormoc, and the limited number of helmets the government can afford to donate, the mayor hopes that their associations can work things out by chipping in for the acquisition of another set of helmets, which they could share. He also urged them to take good care of the helmets they will receive so it lasts longer and could be of use to them for a longer period of time.
In addition, the mayor is now working closely with the city council to come up with an ordinance that would be beneficial to both parties in terms of fare, which concern was raised by both habal-habal drivers and passengers.
The drivers cheered further when they received an allowance of P200 each in compensation for their time in attending the emergency meeting. By Joseph Pilapil