(UPDATED) Beginning Friday, July 10, 2020, motorcycle back riding will be allowed, but only for couples living in the same house in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said.
A barrier would also have to be installed between the driver and passenger.
“Yes simula bukas ay papayagan na natin ‘yung backriding para sa mga couple... Living in the same household whether they are married or they are common-law husband and wife or boyfriend and girlfriend but they are living in the same household,” he said.
“Well sa ID naman sigurado pareho ng apelyido. Kung halimbawa naman ay hindi magkapareho ng apelyido mag common-law husband and wife ay meron silang the same address sa ID nila. Kung live-in sila gano’n din the same address din. So there are so many ways para mapatunayan na they are living in the same house,” he added.
He said the National Task Force (NTF) Against Covid-19 has approved the prototype proposed by Bohol Governor Arthur Yap, which requires the installation of a barrier between the driver and the passenger.
The NTF is continuously studying designs and features that will ensure the safety of the riders.
“Meron siyang barrier in between the rider at saka passenger pagkatapos ay meron din siyang handle sa side nung barrier at lalampas hanggang ulo niya ‘yung barrier para sigurado na walang laway na tatalsik and at the same time kailangan mag wear pa rin ng mask at saka ng crash helmet yung ating passenger at rider,” he said.
Año urged others to propose other designs that may prevent transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19). These proposals may be submitted to the concerned government agencies.
“Pero ‘yung may mga design at proposal ay patuloy pa rin sila mag-submit sa NTF sapagkat meron naman tayong TWG (technical working group) na sumusuri diyan at kaagad naman kung ito naman ay safe para sa travel may barrier between the rider and passenger para hindi magkaroon ng hawaan ng Covid ay aaprubahan din kaagad yan,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield is crafting specific guidelines for motorcycle riders and backriders.
Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, JTF commander and Philippine National Police (PNP) deputy chief for operations, said the guidelines will be focused on the health and safety of the riders and ensure that persons pretending to be a couple would not be allowed to get past checkpoints.
“Una, meron kasing ugali ang mga Pilipino na magpalusot. They would do every alibi that they can think of just to circumvent the rules even if they are fully aware that what they are doing is wrong,” he said.
“Pangalawa, meron ding ‘puwede na yan’ ugali ang ilan sa ating mga kababayan. Ang iiwasan natin ditto ay baka ang gawin nilang divider ay hindi matibay at maging dahilan pa ng aksidente sa daan,” he added.
Año said backriding is allowed only in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.
The areas under GCQ until July 15 are the National Capital Region, Benguet, Cavite, Rizal, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Leyte, Ormoc, Southern Leyte, Talisay City in Cebu and the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion in the province of Cebu.
Areas under MGCQ with strict local action in Luzon are Abra, Baguio City, Ifugao and Kalinga in Cordillera; Ilocos Norte, La Union and Pangasinan in Ilocos; Cagayan and Isabela in Cagayan Valley; Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga and Angeles City in Central Luzon; Batangas, Laguna, Quezon and Lucena City in Calabarzon; Palawan and Puerto Princesa City in Mimaropa; and Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Naga City in Bicol.
In the Visayas, these are; Capiz, Iloilo, Iloilo City, Negros Occidental and Bacolod City in Western Visayas; Cebu Province, Bohol and Negros Oriental in Central Visayas; Tacloban City and Western Samar in Eastern Visayas.
For Mindanao, MGCQ areas with strict local action are: Zamboanga City and Zamboanga del Sur in Zamboanga Peninsula; Bukidnon, Misamis Occidental, Misamis Oriental and Cagayan de Oro in Northern Mindanao; Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao City and Davao de Oro in Davao; Cotabato and South Cotabato in Soccsksargen; Agusan del Norte and Butuan City in Caraga; and Maguindanao and Lanao del Sur in Bangsamoro.
The rest of the country is under low-risk MGCQ with fewer restrictions. (SunStar Philippines)