A lawmaker is recently seeking to legalize the operation of the motorcycles-for-hire known as “habal-habal”.
Rep. Henry Oaminal of Misamis Occidental province filed House Bill (HB) 2322 that eyes to register the units of owners and operators of the indigenous means of public transport with their Local Government Units (LGU).
HB 2322 is targeted to amend the Republic Act 7160 also known as the Local Government Code.
According to Oaminal, the proposed measure is meant for the safety of the traveling public while maintaining a functional yet low-cost means of transportation with minimal financial disruption.
Oaminal said that the habal-habal is already accepted by the riding public but it remains an illegal means of transportation since it is not registered.
“Passengers who are injured or even killed while riding the habal-habal cannot claim benefits because this industry is not covered by insurance. On the other hand, the drivers or operators of the habal-habal face harassment and mulcting from traffic enforcers,” Oaminal said.
If approved the owners of habal-habal—also known as skylab—shall apply for registration with the LGUs where they reside subject to the guidelines of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).
Oaminal defined habal-habal as a motorcycle modified to seat more than two persons. It is used in provinces where jeepneys and tricycles cannot stand the rough, steep terrain and narrow roads.
It also comes in two forms, the lawmaker noted.
He said that the simpler form is a motorcycle with an extended seat protruding over the back wheel that could accommodate four persons, including the driver, who moves forward over the gas tank for better balance.
A fifth, smaller person, may also sit sidesaddle on the gas tank in front of the driver.
Meanwhile, Oaminal said that the more complex form of the habal-habal can seat up to 13 persons, including their baggage that has extensions consisting of wooden planks placed across the back seat of the motorcycle to form the seats for the passengers.
Baggage, ranging from vegetables and groceries to chickens and even goats, is placed at strategic areas within the vehicle.
The proposal would require owners of habal-habals to obtain insurance coverage for third party liability prior to application of the franchise to operate their units.
Further, the habal-habal shall be prohibited from operating along the national highway and will be allowed a maximum speed of 40 kilometers per hour. RUBEN D. MANAHAN 4TH