VP Leni recognizes riders as an emerging sector, vows to advance their interests
Presidential aspirant Vice President Leni Robredo has said that with 9.8 million riders all over the country, they are now an emerging sector whose welfare and interests must be recognized and protected by government, including their security of tenure and ensuring they will not become victims of discrimination.
Robredo held an online dialogue with the Kagulong- R4L group, organized by the Robredo People’s Council (RPC), on Tuesday, January 11, to discuss the sector’s concern and how she will address these if she becomes President in four months.
“Malinaw 'yung posisyon ko sa pagsulong ng interes ng mga riders, at ito 'yung protektahan ang karapatan, kapakanan, kaligtasan ninyo,” Robredo said.
At their meeting, Robredo said that the service riders provide to the public has become essential especially during the pandemic, which also prompted the exponential growth of their sector. She added that a recent study has shown that the Philippines is sixth in the world in terms of the revenue growth contributed by the riders sector.
She also recognized that 90 percent of the riders belong to the basic sector or those in the fringes of society.
Given all these, Robredo told the riders that she believed that the “number one protection” government can give any worker is their security of tenure.
“Sa ‘kin, isang bagay ito na kailangan nating bigyan ng pansin. Kailangan maghabol tayo as far as policy is concerned… Papaano masisiguro na ‘yung mga riders na day in and day out, kahit may sakit, kahit may nararamdaman ay nagta-trabaho pa din. Papaano masisiguro na hindi nila inaalala na bukas makalawa wala na silang trabaho. So ito ay magiging commitment ko ito,” Robredo said.
Robredo also said that it broke her heart to read the participants’ experiences of discrimination especially when they are singled out at checkpoints,
when women and LGBTQ+ riders are harassed, and when one truck driver wrote on the Zoom chat box to tell her how some people considered them “salot ng lipunan (plague of society).”
She vowed to push for the passage of the Anti- Discrimination Bill and said she would revisit the RFID system, which has also become an issue of discrimination against riders.
Robredo said she also wants to see the passage of the People Empowerment Act, which she filed when she was a congresswoman of Naga in 2014.
She explained that the Empowerment Bill intends to allow stakeholders from various sectors to participate in the governance process through People’s Councils in local government units. They are envisioned to be patterned after the Naga City People’s Council, a brainchild of the Vice President’s late husband, former Naga City mayor and Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo.
“Kasi may kasabihan diba, lalong maliit, lalong kaunti 'yung meron ka, as far as resources is concerned, 'yung napapag-iwanan ng batas, ‘yung napapag-iwanan ng lipunan, dapat siya 'yung mas binibigyan ng proteksyon ng batas. So, 'yung sa kin, commitment ko 'yun sa inyo,” Robredo said.
Robredo added that she supports the passage of the Motorcycle Taxi Law that would regulate the use of motorcycle taxis for public transportation.
She said this would ensure the protection of both motorcycle riders and passengers, recognizing that motorcycle taxis are a primary means of transportation especially in provinces.
The Vice President also said that she is backing the Philippine Road Safety Institute bill, authored by detained Senator Leila de Lima who is seeking re-election under the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket. [End]