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Angkas Safety Fiesta Gathers Senatoriables to Advocate for Welfare of 18-M bikers

Angkas Safety Fiesta

Angkas bikers and senatorial candidates from different political parties joined in the Angkas Safety Fiesta to advocate for the welfare and protection of the country's 18 million motorcycle community.

Angkas Safety Fiesta

The Angkas Safety Fiesta, which drew 3,000 bikes, also highlighted the pioneering ride-hailing service provider's readiness to provide alternative modes of transport in the event that Metro Manila's pre-pandemic traffic returns following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions.

Angkas Safety Fiesta

“An estimated 99% of motorcycle owners are low-income breadwinners. Motorcycles are at the center of their road to economic freedom and financial independence,” explained Angkas CEO George Royeca.

“It is for this reason that we have invited candidates from every party. The welfare and livelihoods of 18 million Filipinos---and the families they support---are issues that cut through party divisions and affect all of us. Whatever your political inclinations are, we hope that 18 million kagulongs are part of the national agenda,” he added.

Angkas Safety Fiesta

In 2016, Angkas pioneered the motorcycle taxi industry, providing legitimacy and professional regulation to tens of thousands of habal-habal riders who had previously been criminalized by the government. Motorcycle bikers continue to face numerous problems on a daily basis due to a lack of bike-friendly infrastructure, livelihood advantages, and a system that protects them from being viewed and treated as second-class citizens on the road.

“There are 18 million bikers in the country, three times the number of cars. Unfortunately, roads are not optimized for bikers,” pointed out Royeca.

Angkas Safety Fiesta

Free legal service counsel and senatoriable Chel Diokno supported this, saying that “...the transport policy of the government should be about moving people, not cars. The government has prioritized building more highways for cars, while we should be focusing more on how to move people to get where they need to get, in the shortest possible time. … Motorcycles are really suited to that role. But of course, we need to develop our mass transit system as well.”

Former presidential spokesman and senatorial candidate Harry Roque pointed out that Angkas can help revitalize the economy similar to the way that its bike counterpart in Thailand has been key to its thriving tourism industry: “Napakadaming beses akong nakarating ng Bangkok "I’ve visited Bangkok many times … In Bangkok, Angkas’ counterpart was the reason for the revitalization of Thailand’s economy and tourism.”

Seeking a return to the Senate this year, JV Ejercito, a longtime supporter of Angkas and a biker himself, confirmed Angkas’ contributions to the economy, addressing them directly: “If you weren’t around … the economy could have further deteriorated. You are the ones who kept the economy alive especially during the lockdowns and the pandemic.”

Angkas Safety Fiesta

Angkas' initial roadblock to widespread acceptance was the widespread belief that motorcycles are inherently unsafe. To address this, Angkas offered free training to over 150,000 aspiring riders, 70% of whom ultimately failed. Due to the company's uncompromising standards, it has maintained a safety record of 99.997% despite millions of rides. This encouraged the government to reconsider the motorcycle riding sector and explore legalizing motorcycle taxis.

Tens of thousands of new biker entrepreneurs are now earning P1,500-2,000 a day or P45k-60k monthly, more than three times the minimum wage, thanks to the Angkas business model's success combined with its strict safety training procedure. Moreover, because they are self-employed, these motorcyclists are able to set their own schedules and make time for other priorities, including spending time with their families.

“Today, there are an estimated 18-million motorcycle owners, 99% of whom are low-income earners and breadwinners,” shared Royeca. “Should they be given legitimacy as a sector, they will certainly be a formidable economic force that will provide adequately for their families, as well as help revive the economy by providing incomparably energy and time-efficient mobility and logistics services,.”

Bikers’ roles remain as vital as the country moves past COVID-19 and on to the challenge of rebuilding. Hopeful returnee Senator Sonny Trillanes explained: “We will be more and more dependent on motorcycles for logistics. It’s very convenient, and people have discovered that convenience. You cannot put the paste back into the tube. It’s for the betterment of society because it's less costly.”

Former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief Guillermo Eleazar acknowledged Angkas’ accomplishment: “Your presence changed the transportation landscape of Metro Manila, and the whole country".

Seeking re-election, Senator Risa Hontiveros cited the need to constantly dialog with the motorcycle entrepreneur sector to learn their needs, and address these in the form of appropriate legislation.

In the time of COVID-19, motorcycle entrepreneurs proved invaluable to the economy in general, and in the day-to-day lives of people in particular. Motorcycles have been the very engine that has been driving commerce even in the strictest lockdowns. Former Ifugao governor and senatorial candidate Teddy Baguilat of the Liberal Party pointed out: “They kept us afloat during the lockdowns.”

Angkas Safety Fiesta

Angkas bikers in particular have stepped up and become heroes providing critical services to those who need them, supporting and partnering with different government agencies, and ensuring that our frontliners get fast and safe to the hospitals and back to their homes, often at great personal risk.

Senatorial candidate Dr. Minguita Padilla suggested potentially life-saving applications for motorcycle entrepreneurs: “In medical emergencies we often see ambulances stuck in traffic, but motorbikes can easily get through traffic. In other countries, motorcycles are already used as emergency medical vehicles.

Senatoriable and actor Robin Padilla who is running for Uniteam and who is also an avid biker, pointed out that fuel prices are bikers’ biggest problem. He vowed to do something about it: "Brothers, I have only one promise to you. If you trust me and elect me as your Senator, and allow me to act as your voice, we will establish a nationalized fuel company. This means fuel will not be taxed by the government.

“While our primary concern today is the welfare of 18 million motorcycle riders, we are by no means suggesting that they be given a handout,” emphasized Royeca. “For many logistical and mobility-related tasks, there is absolutely no substitute for motorcycles. They have always been and have become even more vital to commerce in the country. Yet to this day, bikers are second-class citizens, both on the road and legally. Their livelihoods don’t enjoy protection from the law despite their significant economic contribution.”

“To the 18 million people that are depending on two wheels for their livelihoods, we want you to have the proper representation and good champions who will really look at what you’re doing, how you can thrive, how you can be better, and also fight for your rights,” said Royeca, addressing the motorcycle-riding public.

“At the end of the day that’s all we want is that they no longer be second-class citizens. It would be good if they were no longer regarded as criminals. This is something that we will always be fighting for until we are able to establish that,” he concluded.

Other noteworthy candidates who addressed the crowd were Senator Win Gatchalian represented by Jerry Esplana; Congresswoman Cristal Bagatsing of Manila City’s 5th District; Senatorial hopefuls John Castriciones, Samira Gutoc, Alex Lacson represented by wife Pia Lacson, Greco Belgica, Ariel Lim; and the Abante Pilipinas Party List. Senatorial Jopet Sison was also in attendance. Senatoriables Alan Peter Cayetano and Joel Villanueva sent messages of support.

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