Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso has vowed to push for motorcycle taxis to be recognized as a legitimate industry in the country.
He also called on the government to review Republic Act No. 11235, dubbed by riders as the “Doble Plaka Law,” which they bewailed is disadvantageous to them.
Domagoso issued the statements as thousands of drivers of passenger and delivery service “Angkas” trooped to the Manila City Hall to express support for his presidential run.
Meanwhile, the Aksyon Demokratiko presidential candidate committed to farmers in Talavera, Nueva Ecija that once he is elected in next year’s elections, he will limit the importation of agricultural products that compete with their homegrown crops.
Moreno made the pronouncement during a town hall meeting in Barangay Sibul in Talavera, where the Aksyon Demokratiko team had a dialogue with about 2,000 vegetable farmers and members of the transport sector as part of their “Listening Tour.”
The Manila mayor also told the riders about the help they provided them at the height of the pandemic. They hired them, based on an agreement, to ferry health frontliners.
Moreno told the riders that once he becomes the leader of the country, he will ask the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) to include the recognition of motorcycle-taxis in its legislative agenda.
The LEDAC is a consultative and advisory body to the President on certain programs and policies essential to the realization of the goals of the national economy.
“I will make sure that that industry will be recognized by the State through enactment of law,” he said.
He said there must be an enabling law for that industry,” the mayor said, noting how pertinent agencies should ensure that traffic rules and the implementation of these regulations are uniform across local government units.
“We need uniform rules pagdating sa transport. Baka mapaki-usapan natin ang MMDA later on to make uniform our fees, penalties, and rules para panatag lang,” Moreno said.
Meantime, Domagoso said he personally believes the “Doble Plaka Law”does not make any sense.
Republic Act 11235, known as the Motorcycle Crime Prevention Act, provides that all registered motorcycles must secure bigger number plates and it was signed into law in March 2019 in response to the growing number of riding-in-tandem incidents in the country.
“‘That’s stupidity, not just discrimination. It’s really stupidity,” he said.
“To all vegetable growers, the days of vegetable smugglers in the Philippines are numbered. When the day comes, those imported onions and garlic, imported vegetables, their (smugglers)’ world will be crowded with me. If we are lucky, the farmers will be safe because they already have an ally in the government,” Moreno told the farmers, eliciting cheers.
The Aksyon Demokratiko presidential aspirant deplored the plight of vegetable farmers, especially when they are forced to let their produce such as tomatoes and carrots rot in the open fields because of low prices.
“It is even more expensive to transport low-priced vegetables to the market,” Moreno said.
Moreno also vowed to limit the importation of rice “for purposes of reserve” that will be used only during times of calamities. The rest, he said, should be bought locally “The normal is just one-month reserve. ‘Yung produkto niyo ang dapat bilhin ng tao,” he said.
“When you buy in Vietnam, buy in Thailand, who makes money? Why don’t Filipinos just make money, you are Filipino. Just buy from the Filipinos,” Moreno said, reiterating his earlier call that the government should prioritize buying the palay of farmers.
If he becomes president, Moreno said he will issue clear guidelines about the strict importation of pork and chicken making sure that the local hog and chicken raisers can sell their products first before importation is made.
“Producer naman tayo. The entire Luzon is producing meat. What we will do is to allow importation towards the end of the year only as augmentation when there is a big demand for chicken and pork. We will do the same with the importation of rice. We should prioritize our farmers. Filipino farmers first,” Moreno said.
Moreno admitted though that he could not resolve all the problems besetting the agriculture sector, but he will do his best to ease the plight of Filipino farmers in his own little way.
“When I declared my candidacy, I uttered a word: I can at least alleviate the hardships you are going through. I may not be able to resolve it completely but at least your situation will be alleviated,” he vowed.
Moreno said he would institute policies that would cut the cost of food production, leading towards a more sustainable food production that would ensure food security for the country.
Moreno said one of the first thing his government would introduce under the “Buhay at Kabuhayan” platform of governance is to cut taxes on oil and electricity by 50 percent that, among others, would bring down the cost of food production, especially rice, raise the income of farmers and fisherfolk, bring down the prices basic commodities and sustain food production.
Agriculture is one of the major users of petroleum products. Farmers are heavily dependent on oil products for fuel, fertilizers and pesticides to achieve high crop yields. Fisherfolks are also reliant on petroleum for their motorized boats.
Petroleum is also a key source of energy for transportation and power generation. While the government may lose around P130 billion in revenues due to the proposed tax cuts, Moreno said the same amount will immediately benefit the people in terms of savings – savings that would subsequently return to government as people spend more due to their stronger purchasing power.
In his earlier dialogs with farmers in Tarlac and Oriental Mindoro, Moreno vowed to build cold storage facilities for agricultural products in all provinces and regions in the country as part of his food security policy.
Moreno pointed out that cold chain facilities can also be used in storing other agricultural and marine products such as chicken, pork, vegetables and fish.
“Investment in in agriculture, including post-harvest facilities, should be long-term. The next government should focus its resources in ensuring food security in our own country because we cannot have the same pandemic at aasa tayo na padadalhan ng bigas ng ating mga inaangkatan ng bigas,” Moreno pointed out.
The Aksyon Demokratiko standard bearer explained that he can readily use the warehouses of the National Food Authority (NFA) which are situated in spacious government lands that are idle and can be tapped anytime.
Moreno said establishing cold storage facilities in all provinces would ensure that farmers, fishermen and hog and chicken producers could stock their perishable produce or surplus products so that they can sell them later at the right price.