The government may soon allow backriding on motorcycles for everyone, provided that dividers or barriers will be installed between the rider and passenger.
During the #LagingHandaPH public briefing aired on PTV4 on July 11, Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID-19 Shield commander P/Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar clarified some concerns surrounding the government’s decision to allow backriding for couples living under the same roof, provided that they have barriers and can present IDs, marriage contracts, or other proof indicating they belong to the same household.
In the program, host PCOO Usec. Rocky Ignacio quizzed the JTF commander about the reason behind requiring barriers between rider and passenger, even though they are already living together.
“Una, ang atin pong Joint Task Force COVID Shield ay, kami po ay nag-iimplement lang nito. Pero base po sa pahayag ng National Task Force (NTF) at ng Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) ito po ay pinag-aralan nila. Kasi nga po, ang sinasabi nga, ito ay dahan-dahan na pagpunta natin doon sa pagluluwag. So initially, ito pong mga partners muna, and eventually maaring sa mga kamag-anak na, and eventually para po sa lahat na rin po yung punta nito,” Eleazar says.
The JTF head was quick to note though that the authorities will monitor and enforce the current policy of having barriers aboard motorcycles for couples. Those who still don’t have barriers must devise ways to comply to avoid apprehension.
“Initially nga po ay binibigay itong pahintulot sa mga married couples, and live-in partners, sundin lang po natin yun. At kung yung mga sasakyan nyo naman ay wala pang barrier, ano ba naman yung maghintay kayo ng isa o dalawang araw para malagyan nyo bago kayo lumabas para hindi tayo magkaroon ng problema pagdating sa lansangan,” Eleazar adds.
Beginning July 10, authorities allowed backriding for couples who are in the same household as long as there is a protective shield between rider and passenger.
On the first day of implementation, the JTF allowed some couples on motorcycles without barriers but insists that they will be stricter in the days to come.
“Meron pong mga ibang lumabag na wala pong mga barrier at yun ay binigyan natin ng paalala. Merong iba naman na hindi sila married couple or hindi rin live-in partner na lumabas. Ayan po, tinitiketan po natin yang mga yan,” Eleazar recalls.
In mid-March, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) banned backriding on motorcycles to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.