Keeping 'kuligligs' off the road

By Caroline J. Howard, ANC

Posted at Dec 04 2010 12:08 AM | Updated as of Dec 07 2010 09:32 AM

Keeping 'kuligligs' off the road 1
MANILA, Philippines - Sans vehicle registrations and licenses to operate, motorized pedicabs or kuligligs continue to ply Metro Manila's streets, prompting the City of Manila to ban these vehicles from the Metro's main thoroughfares.

Fernando Picorro, spokesman for the Alyansa ng Nagkakaisang Pedicab at Kuliglig Drayber sa Maynila, lamented that the executive order which put the ban in place had come without public consultation.

Retired Col. Franklin Gacutan, head of the Mayors Complaint and Action Team-Manila, said drivers and operators had been given all the opportunity to air their grievances.

He added Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim had even given kuligligs until October, until the ban on motorized pedicabs along main thouroughfares was put in place.

Gacutan, however, noted that they refused to cooperate.

Vehicle conversion

"Ang kahilingan lamang namin kung yan ay pedicab i-convert dahit bawal sa batas. Pwedeng ibalik sa dati, tanggalin ang motor at huwag gamitin sa main thoroughfare," Gacutan said.

Aside from not complying with requirements, he said they also violate traffic rules, noting how they insist on using the counterflow.

"Maraming nangangapital, totoo. Sa parte ng Maynila sundin natin ang batas ang paghahanap buhay ay palaging may limitasyon. Huwag gamitin ang main thoroughfare."

But while it is possible to remove the engine and revert back to plain pedicabs, Picorro said doing so would be disadvantageous to individual drivers.

"Yung nagmamayari ng isa, kami yung labis na naaapektuhan sa ginagawang phase-out. Sa malalaking operator, babawiin lang nila yung puhunan nila kasi ito na yung pangkabuhayan namin. Karamihan ng nagooperate, yung mga single lang motor, yun yung di dumalo sa rally namin, karamihan chairman, pulis," Picorro said.

"Ito ay malaki kumpara sa pedicab, mala-tricycle na po yung bigat ng kuliglig. Kung ibabalik sa pagpapadyak yan, baka dalawa hanggang tatlong byahe lang, di mo kayanin sa sobrang bigat."

Air pollution

Herbert Fabian, Transport Program Manager for the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities, said more than 10,000 motorized pedicabs are plying the streets and polluting the air.

"Kung simulat-sapul palang, alam natin na di ito pwede i-rehistro, bakit pa siya naging 10,000 ngayon?"

Fabian said air pollution in Manila and Quezon City are hard to ignore, even as Picorro claimed, they have passed emission testing.

Gacutan said they are also urged to comply with the Clean Air Act by having their engines removed.

"We're looking at what they're using: diesel, 2-stroke or 4-stroke. Ang problema sa ganitong engine na di ginawang pangsasakyan, kapag naluma yan, siguradong mausok yan. Araw-araw, malaking kilometers ang ginagamit nyan. Para sa Partnership for Clean Air and ang organisasyon namin, mas maigi sa amin kung pedicab nalang ang gagamitin, talaga walang pollution yun, bagamat naiintindihan namin na issue ng livelihood ito," Gacutan said.

Regulate kuligligs

Picorro said they would support moves to regulate the kuligligs.

"Gusto namin maregulate, gusto makausap si Mayor Lim, kilalanin yung kuliglig bilang isang transport mode sa kamaynilaan. Hindi lang naman perwisyo ang hatid nito, kinocondemn din namin yung lumalabag sa batas," he said.

Picorro noted that the penalties imposed on violators are unreasonable. First-time offenders face having their vehicles impounded for a day and P500 in fines, similar fines plus having their vehicles impounded for week if they are second time offenders, and a month on the third instance.

Issue of livelihood

Picorro blamed the proliferation of motorized pedicabs on the lack of jobs. He appealed to the local government of Manila to help them find a better means to earn a living.

"Dapat sana ang siguro gagawin rin ng City Hall ng Maynila, tutulungan nila ang mga driver ng kuliglig na ito para makabalik sila sa dati at bigyan sila ng panibagong livelihood," he said.

"Ang gobyerno natin walang maibigay na trabaho. Sa kanayunan, wala pong matagpuan. Kaya po yan dumami ng dumami ng ganyan may mga kakilala yan, driver, kung wala kang hanap-buhay, kumuha ka ng boundary, ganyan po kabilis ang proseso sa disenteng hanap-buhay na ganito," Picorro said.