MANILA, Philippines – A free training program dubbed "Ridelihood" was launched on Thursday, August 15, for people who drive motorcycles for a living, specifically targeting motorcycle couriers.
The initiative was founded by the Legal Engagement Advocating Development and Reform, Inc. (LEADER Inc), in partnership with the National Capital Region (NCR) East branch of the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
Benjamin Santiago, Regional Director of LTO NCR, said they had been planning this program for 4-5 years already and feels that now is the right time for them to step in due to the emergence of the motorcycle industry.
Sessions will include lectures on road safety practices, riders' legal rights and obligations, health concerns, and financial protection, as well as practical exercises on road safety.
Ridelihood will be targeted towards courier riders such as those who work for Lalamove and GrabFood. Santiago said they have already coordinated with these platforms and thus have their first batch for the training program.
The program will accommodate 50 participants for each batch, and each session will run for half a day, with the first and second sessions starting on Sunday, August 18.
What differentiates Ridelihood from the companies' own training programs? LEADER's Atty. Emiliano Bantog said it will inculcate how these professional riders need to be extraordinarily diligent in comparison to non-professional drivers.
To do so, they will be providing information on the laws relevant to their practice, such as the difference between penalties imposed on professional and non-professional riders, and Republic Act 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code.
Meanwhile, Jofti Villena, Project Manager of the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety, said that they will also emphasize the occuptional health and safety of the riders, since they work for long hours and are exposed to environmental hazards like pollution.
In this regard, the program will also be providing comprehensive eye checkups for trainees, in line with August being Sight-Saving Month. Villena also said the program will reiterate what benefits and services riders are entitled to.
Furthermore, Edwin Go, President of the Motorcycle Dealers' Association of the Philippines, says the program will also help educate buyers of motorcycles with regard to what model to buy for what purpose.
The first iteration of the program is expected to run pro bono for six months, but may expand to accommodate private motorcycle riders and private sponspors as well.
"Eventually, we want to expand, hindi [na] lang 'yung sa mga nagtatrabaho panghanapbuhay, pati [na rin] 'yung mga private, (not only to those who work, but also to include private motorcycle riders)" Santiago said.
Those interested can register through facebook.com/LeaderPhilippines.
Loreben Tuquero is a researcher-writer for Rappler. Before transferring to Rappler's Research team, she covered transportation, Quezon City, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government as a reporter. She graduated with a communication degree from the Ateneo de Manila University.