Habal-habal drivers in Valencia, NegOr to serve as tourist drivers

By: Roi Anthoni B. Lomotan

VALENCIA, Negros Oriental, Sept. 3 (PIA) – Habalhabal drivers in Valencia will also serve as tourist guides/drivers taking local and foreign tourists to the town’s famed tourist destinations.

Habal-habals are single motorcycle units that are used for public transportation in areas with narrow roads, steep and rough terrain. Habal-habals can carry two or more passengers or sometimes sacks of rice, big baskets of vegetables and other groceries or poultry products.

Valencia Tourism Officer designate Elsie Dagoy disclosed that this is a decision of the local government unit (LGU) to boost the municipality’s tourism potential.

She noted that most of Valencia’s tourist attractions like the Casaroro Falls are located in areas which are hard for an ordinary pedicabs or tricycles to reach. Only habal-habal drivers can go in to these places, Dagoy said.

In order to develop habal-habal drivers to tourist drivers/guides, Dagoy mentioned that the LGU will donate clothing materials and uniforms to them. This will help them be more presentable to the visiting tourists.

“On October 5, there will be a vocal duet competition and the proceeds of the events will be used to buy uniforms for our habal-habal drivers,” Dagoy add.

Aside from this, the municipal government will also sponsor trainings and seminar to help enhance the skill of habal-habal drivers as tourist drivers/guides.

LGU Valencia has registered around 83 habal-habal drivers. Recently, some of these drivers were  installed as official tourist guides/drivers through an induction ceremony led by town Mayor Edgar Teves last August 29.

Meanwhile, Mayor Teves sees no problem with tapping habal-habal drivers as tourist guides/drivers since they also contribute to the local economic growth.

Although, he admitted that there is a restriction with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in allowing habal-habals as mode of public transportation, the Mayor believes it is about time they should be legalized since they add vibrancy to local economic activity.

“For me they should be legalized because they are contributing to the economy. They give service to our community. I think it is high time for our congressmen to legalize them, formulate a special law for them. What is important is that they became functional,” he remarked.

On the other hand, Dagoy added that the habal-habal tourist drivers are registered with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in the province and what the LGU will be doing is to have these drivers accredited with the Provincial Tourism Office. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-NegOr)

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