THE more than 2,000-strong Batasan Tricycle Operators and Drivers Association (BATODA) with 16 umbrella and four other big organizations of tricycles in the National Capital Region (NCR) declared yesterday their full and unconditional support to the senatorial candidacy of Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez.
In a press conference, Charlie Mangune, BATODA president, whose group is composed of 16 umbrella organizations in Batasan area, Quezon City and occupying the biggest tricycle terminal in the NCR with over 2,000 member-units, led the endorsement of Romualdez, the vice presidential bid of Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and party-list group Abakada of Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz.
“Kami ng nagkakaisang mga Pangulo at mga kasapi ng TODA na binubuo ng mahigit 2,000 aktibong mga kasapi ay taus-pusong nagpapahayag ng aming pagsuporta kay Rep. Martin Romualdez, vice presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr., at Abakada party-list sa darating na halalan sa Mayo 9,” the manifesto of support stressed. The group includes two tricycle federations in Marikina City and one each in Camarin and Bagong Silang, both in Caloocan City.
“Kami ay naniniwala sa kakayahan nila na tugunan ang aming mga pangangailangan at serbisyong nararapat sa aming sector. Kami ay naninindigan at nagkakaisa na ide-deliver ang aming mga boto upang amin silang maipanalo sa pambansang halalan,” they said.
“Kami ay kikilos at manghihimok sa lahat ng aming mga pasahero at sa aming komunidad na kinabibilangan upang maparami pa mga boboto kina Romualdez, Marcos at Dela Cruz,” they added.
The manifesto of support was signed at the Batasan Central Terminal in Bgy. Batasan, Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City where Romualdez thanked the officers and members of various associations of tricycle operators and drivers.
Romualdez vowed to look into BATODA’s request to the national government for a permanent terminal.
“Salamat po sa inyong pagtitiwala, makakaasa po kayo ng malasakit sa pamamagitan ng patuloy kong pagtataguyod ng inyong interes. Hindi ko po kayo papabayaan,” said Romualdez.
The group also cited Romualdez’s “malasakit” (compassionate) platforms for the poor, including his proposal to institutionalize and increase the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or the conditional cash transfer (CCT).
They also cited Romualdez’s clear platforms of government in ensuring peace and order, curbing graft and corruption, giving free college education, improving health services for indigents’ zero billing, CCT expansion where he will push for a substantial increase with a maximum P46,200 and a minimum P24,200 financial support annually to each family-beneficiary, and among others.
The group also lauded the genuine “malasakit” of Romualdez to the plight of the poor following the successful passage into law of his measure exempting more than 1.5 million persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the payment of 12-percent value added tax (VAT) on certain goods and services.
“Kitang-kita ang kasipagan at kahusayan ni Congressman Romualdez nang maipasa niya bilang isang ganap na batas ang tax exemption sa PWD. Tunay ang kanyang malasakit sa mga nangangailangan katulad ng mga may kapansanan,” they stressed.
The Big 4 in the transport sector which includes Liga ng Transportasyon at Operators sa Pilipinas (LTOP) National President Orlando “Ka Lando” Marquez, Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) National President Efren “Ka Efren” De Luna, Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (Fejodap) National President Zenaida “Ka Zeny” Maranan, and Pangkalahatang Sanggunian Manila and Suburbs Drivers Association Nationwide (Pasang Masda) National President Robert “Ka Obet” Martin has previously declared that the transport sector needs Romualdez in the Senate to advance their welfare and interests.
With a million members nationwide, the Big 4 endorsed Romualdez following his “malasakit” advocacy for them especially in pushing for the Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ) modernization program.