SENATOR Grace Poe urged the government and the private sector to provide bicycles to the most vulnerable and indigent workers, “an available off-the-shelf solution” that would make commuting easier and safer for those who endure long wait and travel aboard crammed public utility vehicles.
“You can move tens of thousands of people next week without having to tunnel underground or build concrete overpasses that will take years to finish,” Poe said.
Pre-owned but well-maintained made-in-Japan bikes are currently sold online for P2,500 to P3,000.
“For workers who survive on daily wages, this sum is unaffordable,” Poe said.
She urged the government to “bulk-buy” these bikes, using appropriations such as the P1.316 billion for sidewalks, bike lanes, bike-sharing and lending programs under Republic Act 11494, or the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act.
As a form of workers’ subsidy, the bike distribution program can be funded out of several pandemic mitigation programs in the national budget, the senator added.
“Kesa pera, pwede kasi ibang klaseng CCT—Cycles for Citizens Transfer—na mas mainam. I received a letter from a grocery worker who said that what they need is a different 4Ps, which he called “a Pedal Project sa Panahon ng Pandemya.”
Poe said there are actually warehouses full of imported bikes, which validate official data that the Philippines imported 2.1 million units of bicycles in 2020, double from 1.1 million units in 2019.
“Kung tama ang mga ads na P3,300 ang presyo ng isa, a P100-million allocation can provide mobility to 33,400 workers,” she said.
“As we build more bike lanes, let us complement this by fielding more bikes used by workers who are relieved of daily commuting burdens.
Ligtas pa, kasi sa mga siksikan na sasakyan, baka seatmate mo si corona,” she added.