An official of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority cautioned the public from riding with illegal “habal-habal” drivers especially this coming holiday season.
Edison Bong Nebrija, MMDA traffic czar, issued this warning on Thursday, October 28 after sharing an incident of theft involving a habal-habal driver.
In his post, Nebrija narrated that a woman went to their office to ask for a copy of a CCTV video along the intersection of EDSA Kamuning in Quezon City.
“We thought she got involved in an accident but it was much worse than that I guess,” he said.
It turns out that the driver whom the woman told them was her “suki” or her regular driver ran away with her purse.
The event occurred around that area.
“She rode a habal-habal in Caloocan. She told us that the rider is her ‘Suki’ and she always text the rider every time she needs a ride. So yesterday she thought it was just the same but turned out to be her worst nightmare,” Nebrija said.
“Apparently the rider noticed she was carrying more in her purse than usual. So upon crossing Kamuning going EDSA SB the rider pulled over. The rider pushed the lady off the motorcycle, grabbed her purse and ran away. A hard lesson to learn,” he added.
The official then warned the public against these drivers, most of whom he claimed to have past criminal records.
“You know why these riders can’t apply to Angkas, Joy Ride and Move It. They can’t get NBI and Police Clearances, for many have past criminal records. There is no such thing as suki-suki to them they are just waiting for the opportune time,” Nebrija said.
He also urged others to warn relatives who commute through these motorcycle taxis amid the holiday season.
”So if you have a love one wife or kids who use habal-habal well warn them now or let them stop patronizing them. Christmas is fast approaching and they might be the next victim. Let this serve as a warning to all. Please be careful,” Nebrija said.
The word “habal” comes from the Bisaya word that means “to breed” among animals.
The word was eventually adopted to describe the position of riders in motorcycles.
These operations initially started in the provinces where low-income communities benefit from as their source of income.
In Metro Manila, however, the habal-habal system is unregulated and not registered with the government.
Angkas CEO Angeline Tham revealed in an interview that habal-habal drivers also have their own fare matrix.
Sometimes, these drivers earn more than their own riders because they charge their customers higher.