The Department of Ingterior and Local Government (DILG) is studying the possibility of allowing “back riding” on motorcycles – which is frowned upon by President Duterte – subject to the observance of strict protocols.
According to DILG chief Ed Ano this is in line with the earlier proposal of Bohol Governor Arthur Yap to install a plastic shield between the driver and passenger to make motorcycle back riding legal during Covid quarantine.
QC Representative Precious Hipolito-Castelo said this system is currently being employed In Indonesia which allows passengers mobility without compromising their safety.
“If they can do it, we can also do it to help millions who still have no jobs and income due to quarantine restrictions…and ease congestion in public transportation,” she said.
But this is still subject to the scrutiny of the Inter Agency Task Force on Infectious Diseases (IATF) as well as the Department of Health who still, have the last say on the matter.
On the down side, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said one significant factor mitigating against the proposal is that there will surely be innumerable transgressions as it will be next to impossible for law enforcers to determine whether the back rider is really the driver’s spouse.
President Duterte has steadfastly refused to rescind the “no back ride” policy on motorcycles of the government, despite desperate pleas from a multitude of local leaders, as a prevention against the virus spread.
The IATF and Department of Transportation have prohibited motorcycle back riding since the start of quarantine in early March 2020 as it does not allow for social distancing.
But thousands of motorcycle owners have repeatedly been appealing to government to allow “pillion rides” especially if the passenger in the back seat is the driver’s spouse – which is permitted in the case of private cars.
Senate president pro tempore Ralph Recto has this succinct observation: “If they share the same bed at night, why can’t they ride a bike together during the day?”
Recto said the government should reconsider this position of theirs to ease the “brutal lack of transportation” in the most urban areas, especially in the case of married couples who are both breadwinners and have to go to the office daily as they have a “no work, no pay” arrangement with employers.