Whoever came up with the challenge to government officials to leave their SUVs at home and try taking public transport to work in order to understand the daily difficulties of the commuting public? Read this.
Celine Pialago, assistant secretary and spokesperson of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), revealed during a DZBB radio interview on January 5, 2020, that she’s a regular user of motorcycle taxis when traffic is hellish and she’s rushing to a meeting.
“Madalas din po akong sumakay ng Angkas,” said Pialago, referring to one of the three motorcycle-taxi companies allowed to operate under the pilot run by the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
Program anchor Orly Trinidad couldn’t help asking this follow-up question: “Saan ka kumakapit sa rider?”
“Syempre po sa tagiliran,” Pialago replied, then added, “Meron pong handle sa likuran ng motorsiklo,” referring to the bike’s grab rail.
The official was then quick to divert the discussion to a more serious note—the 39,000-rider limit set by the DOTr’s technical working group (TWG) for the extended motorcycle-taxi pilot run in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu.
She reminded the riders of the three participating companies—Angkas, JoyRide, and MoveIt—to stay in the designated motorcycle lanes and always ensure the safety of their passengers.
“Wear the proper helmet. Hindi po yung mga helmet na kalahati lang,” she stressed, then recalled an incident when she forgot to secure her helmet’s chin strap before her motorcycle taxi took off. Upon noticing that her headgear was loose after moving a few kilometers, she asked the rider to pull over so she could secure the strap.
“Malaking hamon para sa [MMDA] ang 30,000 na [motorcycle taxis in Metro Manila], pero kung sila po ay susunod naman sa batas trapiko at palaging may suot na safety gear, kakayanin po nating i-manage yan,” she continued. These units included, there will be roughly 400,000 vehicles passing through EDSA on a daily basis.
We’re pretty sure that after reading this, many motorcycle-taxi riders will be wanting to have Pialago as their passenger. Be ready with your cell phone cameras for a quick selfie.