The labor group Partido ng Manggagawa (PM) expressed its support to motorcycle riders who were protesting against indiscriminate road and anti-crime programs, specifically the ‘no back-ride’ and the ‘vest with plate number’ policies being proposed by law enforcers and some local governments.
Hundreds of motorcycle riders under Arangkada and the Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO) today held a motorcade-cum-rally from the Quezon City Elliptical Circle to the People Power Monument in Quezon City.
“The proposed ban on back-ride is not only unconstitutional but also anti-worker,” said PM spokesperson Wilson Fortaleza, adding that while many criminals use motorbikes in committing crimes, “not all riders are criminals and thus do not deserve a ‘person of interest’ kind of profiling.”
Fortaleza explained that using motorbike is now the popular choice among workers both in the formal and informal sector because it is the cheapest and fastest mode in getting to work or in delivering personal and community services.
“In fact many in the PNP, MMDA, LGUs and other NGAs are also using motorcycles. And many of labor organizers, too,” he added.
According to the National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB), motorcycles overtook the utility vehicles from 2005 onwards and close to half of the private vehicles roaming our streets are motorcycles or tricycles.
The NSCB added that it could be a sign of progress or proof of a shrinking middle class. There are some 3-4 million registered motorcycles, according to the MRO.
Fortaleza, however, clarified that the labor group will not oppose government’s campaign against criminality as long as it recognizes the limits of its power to impose unjust rules.
“Solving street crimes must be a collective effort. One way to do it is for law enforcers to be in close coordination with legitimate, organized riders’ clubs, not by intimidating them. And also not by striking a modus vivendi with godfathers of criminal gangs,” concluded Fortaleza.