Motor bikers on Thursday urged the government to back the legalization of motorcycle taxis to operate not only in Metro Manila but also in other highly urbanized cities.
At a news conference in Quezon City, George Royeca of Transport Watch called for the regulation of motorcycle taxis.
"We urge the government not to turn a blind eye to the needs of the motorcycle-riding community," he told reporters.
Such regulation would give motor bikers the chance to pursue a legitimate livelihood through hail-riding services, he said.
Jobert Bolaños of the Riders of the Philippines assured the government of their commitment to ensure the safety of their passengers should they be allowed to operate as hail-riding alternative.
Citing a recent Social Weather Stations survey, Royeca said one in three Filipino families owns a motor bike with 50 percent of them using their vehicles for livelihood.
"There are 1.5-million four-wheeled automobiles in the Philippines, while there are five million two-wheeled vehicles, plus one million tricycles," he said.
Over the past 10 years, the use of motor bikes was evidently increasing, Royeca said.
Such figures would indicate that the motorcycle has been the mode of transportation of the Filipino masses "not only for personal reasons but also for their livelihood," he added.
He called on the government not to portray motor bikers as "criminals."
"We condemn ordinances that would penalize male back-riding," he said.
Bolaños, for his part, said "we have the numbers and we will make our force felt."
At least 5,000 motor bikers belonging to ROTP, a community of motorcycle riders and motorcycle groups advocating rider unity, road equality, respect and safety, will stage a "unity ride for equality" on May 27 from Epifanio delos Santos Avenue, Quezon City to Mendiola, Manila to call for the legalization of the motorcyle hail-riding service.