At least 16 drivers of “kuliglig” (motorized pedicabs) face charges for Wednesday’s violent protest that injured 12 people. What were these people protesting about that it turned into a violent scene? Hundreds of kuligligs or 3-wheel motorized pedicabs wheeled their way from Lawton to the Supreme Court on Taft Ave. to protest a Manila City ordinance banning them from major thoroughfares. Executive Orders 16 and 17, which ban the kuligligs from main streets, took effect on December 1st. City officials said their engines are not registered with the Land Transportation Office.
According to a detailed report from Francis Faulve, ABS-CBN News, at past 7:00 a.m., the kuligligs started their motorcade from Plaza Lawton to the SC in Padre Faura in Manila. They paralyzed traffic below Lagusnilad Bridge and a lane in Taft Avenue going to the SC. Before 10:00 a.m., they again convened in front of the Bonifacio Shrine just across the Manila City Hall, in an attempt to hold a dialogue with Mayor Alfredo Lim. Only the Mayor’s chief of staff and city legal office personnel faced the drivers. The drivers then brought their kuligligs along Burgos Street and blocked the road. Police elements gave them until 12:00 noon to voluntarily disperse. Around 11:00 a.m., reinforcements from other police units and the special weapons and tactics group came to the scene. The police tried to adjust the deadline but unruly protesters started to make a commotion, blocking traffic again with their kuligligs. The protesters clashed with the police. The latter had to use a water hose and tear gas, thus injuring some. The protesters were finally dispersed at past 2:00 p.m. Police were able to arrest some of them.
In my opinion, the protesters went too far and didn’t understand the fact that there are safety issues at hand. For anyone who has been in a kuliglig (pedicab), they are not fit for heavy traffic conditions. From the footage I saw in news reports, I was appalled at the fact that these kuligligs brought their children to the protest that turned violent. For additional footage, click here and here.