Two wheels to go

June 09, 2020

Sa ikauunlad ng bayan, bisekleta ang kailangan.

Did a comedian really go to jail for saying this during the early years of martial law?

Jail or no jail, his pun on the mantra/motto of ML could be the key to reviving the economy and putting it back to its growth track before the 2019 coronavirus pandemic hit.    

Economic growth is about movement – of people, goods, and services.

And since people are the ones who make good and deliver services, their mobility is paramount.

With public transport operating  at only half their capacity, this means the other half who want to work or engage in livelihood are unable to.  

Biking to work is not only a cheap and fast way to go; it is also  healthy option and environmemt-friendly.

Thus, concerned about the 7.3 million Filipinos who lost their jobs amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Sen.  Richard J. Gordon reiterated that promoting the use of bicycles would help create jobs.

"That's why I am pushing for bicycles. Sinabi ko they must be accompanied by infrastructural support because it would create jobs. Aside from that, the people would be healthier and the air would be cleaner," he stressed.

Gordon explained that parking spaces with rails where bicycles could be chained to should be put up, pointing out that this, alone, would already create jobs.

The senator also proposed that bicycles could be equipped with global positioning system racker and rented out to people who want to use them.

"Isa na itong means na pwedeng pagkakitaan. Pag ipinark pa nila sa isang area 'yung mga bisikleta, kikita rin 'yung magbabantay ng bisikleta," he said.

Gordon also noted that not only would it develop the bicycle manufacturing industry, such as the Patria Bicycles/Kairuz Bicycles, the first bicycle manufacturing company in the country; it would also boost other related industries.

"Lalakas 'yung mga gumagawa ng gulong, gumagawa ng rayos at ng mga protective gear gaya ng helmet, knee and elbow pads, at iba pa. Lalakas din 'yung mga nag-aayos ng bisikleta at mga vulcanizing shops kaya it would really create employment," he pointed out.

Gordon also proposed backyard farming to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on peoples' livelihood, adding that they could grow vegetables so they would have something to eat or they could sell them.

The latest Labor Force Survey showed that the unemployment rate in the country rose to 17.7 percent, equivalent to 7.3 million unemployed Filipino, in April. This is the highest unemployment record in the country, surpassing the 10.3% unemployment rate in the 1998 recession in the Philippines.

The Department of Labor and Employment said the results were expected given that the health crisis has crippled most of the country's economic activities.

Meanwhile, some bicycle stores in Metro Manila are seeing an increase swhile transportation options remain limited. 

A shop owner said sales have jumped almost tenfold when the enhanced community quarantine transitioned to a modified version that eased some restrictions.

However, as demand for bicycles increased, so have the price—not just of the bikes, but also of spare parts.

Customers prefer bikes over other modes of transportation because they are cheaper.

The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, meanwhile, has set up a bike lane on a segment of EDSA from the corner of Whiteplains Avenue to the corner of Col. Bonny Serrano Avenue as part of a dry run for a possible new traffic scheme in the "new normal" of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier, the Department of Transportation said two-wheel vehicles would play an important role in the "new normal"