‘Habal-habal’ ride of Orbos a wake-up call for Tugade
While it annoyed Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, Transportation Undersecretary Tim Orbos’ controversial motorcycle ride to get to an official event on time should serve as a reality check for officials about what Metro Manila commuters endure every day — clogged roads and lousy public transportation.
In reaction to media reports about Tugade publicly reprimanding Orbos for casually admitting he rode a “habal-habal” (motorcycle) just to get to a Department of Transportation event in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), commuters, especially those who avail themselves of the yet illegal motorcycle service, came to the undersecretary for roads’ defense.
Given worsening congestion in Metro roads, netizen Robert Campeau said sometimes “you have to be resourceful.”
Another netizen, Aries Españo, pointed out that at least Orbos did not make use of the “wangwang,” or siren, to tread through traffic during the Friday morning rush hour.
For netizen Donald Selda, what Orbos did should serve as an eye-opener to transport officials of the daily suffering that Metro commuters go through.
“Now you know what every Juan has to endure every day. People who try to make it to work on time and risk riding the habal-habal,” he said on Facebook.
On Friday, Orbos received a public dressing down from Tugade when he casually admitted he rode a habal-habal to make it on time for the signing of the memorandum of agreement on the interoperability of toll collection systems.
Tugade said he was “really bothered, if not alarmed” by Orbos’ “(expletive) ride on the habal-habal.”
Orbos, who came from a meeting at the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), said that he flagged down a motorcycle driver to hitch a ride to BGC. It was unclear, though, where he flagged down the motorcycle and if he paid for the ride.
While Taguig has an ordinance against habal-habal, this remains to be a popular transport option, especially for workers who want to weave through the city’s choked streets. The service charges passengers a minimum P50 fare.
There has been no clear policy on easing road congestion, especially from the MMDA, as the government embarks on billions of pesos of mass transportation and road expansion projects.
Commuters are forced to find ways on how to reach their destinations with as little delay as possible even as current mass transport systems, like the Metro Rail Transit 3, increasingly become unreliable.