Just a few weeks ago, our good friend, Jester Carillo, a motorcycle taxi rider and a father, became viral on social media for refusing to charge a student who hailed his services. Commuting around the city has become more difficult lately as the power rectifier of LRT line 2 exploded a few days ago, disrupting the line between Santolan and Anonas stations, and needing repair for the next nine months.
Today, motorcycle riders, perhaps inspired by Jester's story, have offered free rides to commuters who affected by the LRT's outage. On a Facebook post, Eulanne Reyes said that she had been waiting for a jeepney or a bus ride for an hour until she saw Michael Vinuya, a motorcycle rider, who had a sign written on the front of his motorcycle saying, "Libre sakay" (free ride). She further added that if not for Michael, who offered a free ride, she could've missed her midterm exams at the Far Eastern University.
While there are also many, many more inspiring stories like this which highlight the important role of motorcycles as a fast and convenient transport or logistics alternative, many Local Government Units (LGU) still see motorcycles as a threat, especially when it comes to local security. Motorcycles are often among the first affected by new policies enacted in the name of security and safety; take for example the City of Mandaluyong and its anti-riding-in-tandem ordinance. There are also many localities that have already enacted or are considering outlawing full-face protective crash helmets or any protective gear entirely within their borders to more easily identify the rider and pillion's faces. The infamous "Doble Plaka" law is another law enacted in the name of security.
We checked with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) with regards to the legality of these selfless acts. They promptly replied to MotoPinas.com that anyone can offer rides or even serve as shuttles, even if they do not have a permit or a franchise from the LTFRB, as long as it's FREE or the services are not exchanged for any quantifiable amount or thing.
We hope that, in times like these, more and more motorcycle riders step up to help their fellow Filipinos, and that the government will soon adjust their policy-making for the betterment of the 18-million or so motorcycle riders.