Bacolod Council asks IATF to recall motorcycle barrier policy

MANILA. A woman holds on to a plastic partition which the government requires for two people riding a motorcycle to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the city of Navotas, Manila, Philippines on Thursday, July 16, 2020. (AP)

THE Bacolod City Council approved a resolution asking the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) to reconsider requiring motorists to install barriers on motorcycles before allowing an "Angkas" or backrider for reasons of safety and impracticality.

The resolution, authored by Councilor Simplicia Distrito, was approved during the regular session of the City Council on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

Distrito, chairperson of the City a Council committee on childcare development, said several professional and motorcycle groups have already denounced the barrier requirement for being impractical.

"Those that will be allowed are wives or live-in partners as backriders. However, when they get home, they will sleep in the same bed. They will still kiss each other goodbye and will walk and hold hands together. Thus, it defeats the purpose of the requirement considering that they are regularly exposed to each other," Distrito said.

DILG earlier issued an advisory advising all local government units that backriding on motorcycles shall be allowed in compliance with the guidelines set forth by the IATF-MEID.

The advisory mentioned the guidelines to be observed such as couples living in the same bed; presentation of valid identification cards as proof that the said persons are living together or are married to one another, or have relation to one another or common law marriage, boyfriend and girlfriend, etc.; safety barriers/shield whose design is duly approved by the IATF national must be placed between the driver and the passenger; said persons riding motorcycles shall observe minimum public health standards set forth by the Department of Health, such as the wearing of face masks and other relevant personal protective equipment; and riders shall also observe all road-safety measures during their rides, such as the donning appropriate motorcycle safety headwear or crash helmets.

Distrito said the same advisory tasked the local government units to monitor the implementation of the motorcycle backriding policy with the Philippine National Police.

She said some motorcycle safety experts have already said that the design of the barrier is unsafe, prone to accidents and an unnecessary cost to the rider.

"This august body appeals to the IATF-MEID and the DILG to reconsider the barrier requirement for safety reasons and impracticality and for possibly finding other ways that might be doable without compromising the life and property of persons," she added.


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