Angkas bikers and senatorial candidates from a wide range of political parties gathered during the Angkas Safety Fiesta over the weekend to jointly push for the welfare and protection of the 18-million-strong biker community.
The event in Cainta, which was attended by 3,000 bikers, also signaled the trailblazing ride-hailing service provider’s preparation to provide alternative transport due to the imminent return of pre-pandemic traffic in Metro Manila following the lowering of COVID-19 restrictions.
“An estimated 99 percent of motorcycle owners are low-income breadwinners. Motorcycles are at the center of their road to economic freedom and financial independence,” said 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 pioneered the motorcycle taxi industry in 2016 and moved to legitimize tens of thousands of habal-habal riders.
Senatorial bet Chel Diokno said: “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.”
Former presidential spokesman Harry Roque said Angkas can help revitalize the economy similar to the way that its bike counterpart in Thailand has been key to its thriving tourism industry.
“In Bangkok, Angkas’ counterpart was the reason for the revitalization of Thailand’s economy and tourism,” Roque said.
Former senator JV Ejercito, a longtime supporter of Angkas and a biker himself, told the bikers in attendance: “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.”
“They kept us afloat during the lockdowns,” former Ifugao Gov. Teddy Baguilat added.
Senator Sonny Trillanes IV added: “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 chief Guillermo Eleazar acknowledged that Angkas has “changed the transportation landscape of Metro Manila, and the whole country.”
Re-electionist Sen. Risa Hontiveros cited the need for constant dialog with the motorcycle entrepreneur sector to learn their needs and address these in the form of appropriate legislation.
The success of the Angkas business model complemented by its strict safety training protocol has led to tens of thousands of new biker entrepreneurs who make at least P1,500 to P2,000 a day, or at least P45,000 monthly – three times higher than the minimum wage.
“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,” Royeca said.