Pillion couples

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, or IATF for short, has finally given in to appeals to allow tandem riding on motorcycles.

But IATF agreed to allow only couples to ride tandem on motorcycles. And depending on who in government you first heard the news from, couples meant those who are married with licenses or certificates to prove it, or domestic partners—regardless of gender or sexual orientation— who live out of the same homes. Of course, they need to show IDs as proof they indeed are living together.

There are other conditions. Tandem riders need to be both masked and helmeted, and a non-permeable barrier with handles must be affixed to the motorcycle to separate them. A prototype of the IATF-approved design for the barrier was exhibited.

The first day of implementation saw authorities pulling over tandem riders to check for marriage licenses or other proof of domestic partnership. And already many tandem-riding couples showed off ingenious designs for barriers using all sorts of materials.

Of course, many motorcycle-riding advocates and experts came out to weigh in on the IATF guidelines for who are allowed to ride in tandem and the need for barriers.

Many took pains to say they understood the motive of the IATF in imposing rules to allow couples to ride together on a motorcycle to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 contagion. But they questioned the logic of the need for barriers. After all couples living together are not separated by plastic barriers at home. 

They also argued that the prototype of the proposed barrier would make the motorcycle unwieldy and unsafe in real road traffic conditions.

Perhaps, they further argued, facemask and full-face helmets are enough to provide protection to two riders on a single bike against getting infected or infecting others.

Surprising Confidence

Vehicle sales are down by around 50 percent. Economic indicators are tumbling. Consumer confidence is cratering. The banking industry has turned stingy with financing automobile sales.

And yet Kia Philippines is announcing plans to open four more dealerships in the third quarter of 2020. The opening of Kia Marikina, Kia Fairview and Kia Isabela, and Kia Bonifacio Global City will increase the number of Kia Philippines dealership network to 34 sales and service facilities.

That’s not all. Kia says it will open more facilities in the fourth quarter of this year and early in the year next. It adds that it is boosting its presence and the provision of customer service to Kia owners who are beneficiaries of its five-year or 160,000 kilometer warranty and its 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance.

Kia Philippines expressed this during a series of virtual forums it held with the motoring media recently. Its key execs indicated Kia sees “various opportunities for growth and a way to contribute to the local economy” which is struggling to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

They believe the Picanto and the Soluto are perfect for the new normal when people are looking for affordable personal transport.

Its K2500 light commercial vehicle is also perfect for delivery and shuttle services now in demand under the continuing community quarantine. Kia has even confiigured the K2500 with plastic dividers to enforce physical distancing.

While many companies are shutting down, Kia plans to push through with its expansion program while adapting to new normal conditions. This includes establishing a Virtual Showroom in the last quarter of the year to provide customers “the opportunity to shop for a new Kia vehicle from the comfort and safety of their homes.”

And it promises a surprise for the yearend—an all-new model catering to the needs of Filipino motorists.

Said Manny Aligada, Kia Philippines president: “The coronavirus and lockdown may have taken their toll on the local and global economy. Yet, we at Kia Philippines, are confident that we will overcome these with sales and aftersales initiatives, continuous expansion of our dealer network, entering into the digital age with a virtual showroom, and an unboxing of an all-new model.”

“All these are designed to not only jumpstart our brand but the economy as well,” he added.

Xpander Cross

Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation (MMPC) is another automaker that seems unfazed by the COVID-19 pandemic and which also believes it has the perfect vehicle for the family in these dire times.

Mitsubishi describes the Xpander Cross as “a family-friendly seven-seater crossover MPV built with solid SUV styling, comfortable and pleasant drivability, as well as a spacious, practical and versatile interior design.”

It expects the Xpander Cross to boost the MPVs popularity and maintain leadership in the category.

“The Xpander is a very important product to MMPC as it fits many of the vehicle requirements of Filipinos. It provides the reliable performance, spacious and comfortable interior, host of safety features and a very bold design. Now with the entry of the Xpander Cross and its added features, we see renewed potential to the already successful Xpander nameplate,” MMPC president and CEO Mutsuhiro Oshikiri, said in a press statement.

The Xpander Cross enhances its sporty image with new front grille and bumper design, LED headlights and fog lamps, 17-inch two-tone alloy wheels, new fender arch and side body molding, new rear garnish and LED combination lamps, and roof rails. It has also been raised to attain a class-leading 225-millimeter ground clearance.

It comes with an SRP of Php1,255,000.

Initial Donation

Remember the “Isuzu Kasama Mo” campaign launched last  June which promised to supply medical PPEs (personal protection equipment) to various partner institutions for every Isuzu vehicle sold during the campaign period until July 31, 2020.

Well, the beneficiaries just got the first fruits of that campaign.

In a press statement, Isuzu Philippines Corporation announced an initial donation of PPEs has been turned over to the Philippine Coast Guard, the Philippine Red Cross and Caritas Manila.

Phoenix Plus

Phoenix Petroluem has wrapped up its fuel donation program to help with various government initiatives to provide free transportation to medical and other frontliners during the community quarantine periods. 

Phoenix said it donated a total of 179,079 liters of fuel to nine different private organizations and local government units and agencies working to provide relief to frontliners, health workers, and affected communities.           

Among others, Phoenix worked with Libreng Sakay programs of the Department of Transportation and the Philippine Disaster Recovery Agency, the GrabBayanihan initiatives, the Philippine Red Cross’ MV Amazing Grace Humanitarian Ship.

“Staying true to our battle cry, ‘Sasamahan ka ng Phoenix’, we have been relentless in providing help to individuals, groups, and communities greatly affected by the pandemic and the quarantine. While adjusting our business to adapt to the new normal and keeping our workforce safe and motivated, we have also been busy taking part in various outreach initiatives around the country by providing free Phoenix fuels to vehicles used in humanitarian programs,” said Henry Albert Fadullon, Phoenix Petroleum president and chief operating officer.

Happy Motoring!!!

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