If there’s a city in the Philippines that has really fostered a biker culture, that’s Iloilo City. Ilonggos are such bike nuts that Iloilo has more than 200 biker groups. They send off a departed biking comrade in bikes. Some of their teachers deliver class modules by bike to save on gas and make the activity fun. They reach out to the needy on their bikes, too. No wonder Iloilo City has been called “the bike capital of the nation.” It helps that it’s local government has provided for pedestrian- and bike-friendly infrastructure.
And so while many of Saturday’s supporters for VP Leni from different parts of the country took to the streets in cars, Ilonggos came out to show their support on their two-wheelers. Around 500 bikers pedaled along the streets of Iloilo City in pink caps, pink shirts, pink rash guards and pink masks, proudly flashing the color that has been closely associated with Vice President Robredo’s bid for the presidency in the upcoming 2022 elections.
“Ilonggos opted to bike to exhibit the city’s major attraction – its bike lane network and growing biking sector composed of gentle people or those referred to as malambing,” says Ted Aldwin Ong, a local journalist who advocates for biking and the arts. “The 23-kilometer ride passed through the bikeable Esplanade 4 and 6 and the University Loop bike network, the city’s main thoroughfare, public markets, and major landmarks of the City Proper, La Paz, Jaro, Manudurriao, and Molo districts.” The Iloilo Esplanade, by the way, is the city’s beloved promenade that runs alongside the Iloilo river. It’s a source of pride for Ilonggos.
Today’s “Ride for Leni” saw different sectors participate in the exercise, from workers to members of the LGBTQIA+ community, women, faith-based reps, Ilonggos young and old.
According to Ong, the ride was the Ilonggo’s way of showing “commitment to sustainable mobility, environmental protection consciousness, healthy lifestyle, and political maturity. It also underscored their call for the restoration of decency, accountability, good governance, and unity as one Filipino people.”
Treñas was visited by Robredo in Iloilo City last Sunday, October 17. In a story by Rappler, city mayor Jerry Treñas confirmed his support for the Vice President.
“When you understand the cry of the community, we should not wait for the click of the camera to act. As a public servant and a lawyer, I should stand firm for the welfare of my people,” the mayor posted on his Facebook account Monday. “As the father of the city, I must also choose the right leader to guide and lead us - someone who has shown an unyielding courage in the face of adversity, someone who has proven to be effective despite the limited resources, and someone who has no traces of corruption.”
According to Rappler, the Vice President’s office has been able to give Iloilo City P4.9 million as initial Covid-19 response, followed by P4.5 million “for the Uswag Molecular Laboratory at Brgy. San Pedro in Molo district, which tests swab samples for COVID-19.”