In a recent press conference in Intramuros, Angkas and major biker groups in Metro Manila has expressed strong objections on a new small motorcycle ban policy of Skyway on a part of the highway through a signage-notice installation in the area.
The said ban which the groups consider a form of discrimination against the masses, specifically pertains to sub-400cc motorcycles plying on Osmena Highway that began last July 22, 2019.
Moreover, in the same media gathering, Angkas Head for Regulatory and Public Affairs George Royeca decried the prohibition of small motorcycles on the highway, saying that the ban is not only anti-motorcycle-rider, it is also anti-poor.
Highway Ban Specifications
With the ban, motorcycles whose engine displacement is below 400cc and which are coming
from the East Service Road (Taguig City) can no longer use the northbound portion of Osmena Highway starting from Sales Bridge (Pasay City), instead of directly heading straight to Osmena Highway via a small road connector that crosses the PNR track.
Now, the small motorcycles must divert to Pasong Tamo Extension going to their destination in Pasay, Makati, or Manila.
Royeca added that the ban will affect a lot of commuters that rely on these critical roads. He stated that their Angkas biker-partners will have to do detours into roads that are usually jampacked with vehicles, forcing them to go through heavy traffic with an average of 45-minutes to 1 hour in addition!
“What’s worse is that the ban also affects commuters who will have to go the longer way resulting in a longer travel time and higher fares because of the detours,” Royeca noted. “The move is therefore also anti-commuter.”
Royeca also pointed to Skyway O&M as the one responsible for the ban. Skyway O&M is a private corporation designated by the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) to operate and maintain tolled roads under the South Metro Manila Skyway Project (SMMS).
He, however, stressed that Osmena Highway is not a tolled road and, as such, is excluded from the list of expressways where sub-400cc motorcycles are banned. “Osmena Highway, therefore, cannot be covered by the TRB”, as claimed. “No private corporation has the right to dictate the use of public roads“…emphasizing that the ban was implemented without any studies.
Biker Groups Echo the Sentiments
According to Angkas Operations Manager David Medrana, there are currently over 27,000
Angkas riders, most of whom are based in Metro Manila. These riders use motorcycles
whose engine displacements range from 100cc to 200cc.
“There are only very few motorcycle riders in Metro Manila who have 400cc motorcycles. This ban is clearly discriminatory,” Medrana claimed.
Jobert Bolarios of the Motorcycle Rights Organization (MRO) also denounced the ban,
saying that it is anti-poor.
“The ban will benefit only moneyed individuals who can aff ord big, expensive motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles, while displacing those that only have small, sub-400cc bikes,” Bolarios said. “This is unfair and clearly one-sided,” he added.
For his part, Atty. Ariel Inton, former LTFRB board member and current member of the
Lawyers for Commuter Safety and protection, echoed the others’ sentiments.
“That long stretch of the Osmena Highway is a critical thoroughfare leading to key areas like Manila, Makati, Pasay City, and Taguig and banning small motorcycles there will greatly be an inconvenience to commuters who use motorcycle taxis daily,” Inton claimed. “Since that long stretch of Osmenia Highway is not tolled, it should be open to all motorists regardless of vehicle type,” he added.
Other motorcycle clubs are currently planning to stage more unity rides and protests in the coming weeks, and if push comes to shove, they will take legal action, to push for the lifting of the ban.