JOINT Task Force COVID Shield commander, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar yesterday called on all pillion riders in the country to obey government rules and regulations to avoid inconvenience with the law.
He specifically directed the appeal to motorcycle riders in Metro Manila and the provinces of Laguna, Rizal, Cavite and Bulacan where the National Task Force Against COVID-19 has allowed motorcycle pillion riding and even lifted some of the restrictions for back-riding to make up for the prohibition of public transportation under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) status
Eleazar said the decision of the NTF Against COVID-19 headed by Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana expected to address the transportation concerns of people who would be allowed to go out and work, particularly the medical frontliners and other essential workers who are classified as Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR).
“Since public transportation is not allowed in Metro Manila and the four provinces under MECQ from August 4 to August 18, motorcycle back-riding will be an essential mode of transportation to ensure that no frontliners and other essential workers would be stranded as they go out to report to work and on their way back home,” he said.
Under the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), the use of bicycles and motorcycles are encouraged during the MECQ.
But Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, who is also the vice-chairman of the NTF Against COVID-19 emphasized the need to have a motorcycle barrier that would separate the driver and the back-rider especially that some rules on pillion riding were relaxed.
Sec. Año said the NTF Against COVID-19’s decision to lift the rule that limits pillion riding to married couples and live-in partners should be done without compromising the minimum health safety standard protocols.
“As per SILG Año, motorcycle back-riding will be allowed under MECQ and the rule now states that any person, for as long as they are considered as APOR and especially if the back-riders are medical frontliners and other essential workers, is allowed for pillion riding,” said Eleazar.
Lt. . Gen. Eleazar, however, clarified that people who just want to avail of essential goods and other services outside their communities will not be allowed to back-ride since they are not considered APOR or essential workers.
In coordination with Philippine National Police chief, General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, the PNP Director for Operations and JTF COVID Shield vice-commander, Major General Emmanuel Luis D. Licup released a memorandum to all police commanders in the National Capital Region and the four provinces under the MECQ on how the guidelines for pillion should be implemented.
Eleazar said based on the PNP guidelines, motorcycle back-riding will be allowed under the following condition: 1. The backrider/passenger is an essential worker or APOR and the travel is work-related even if the driver and the passenger are not related;2. The driver is equipped or the motorcycle is installed with the prescribed barrier; and 3. the motorcycle is privately-owned, is not for hire and was not hired during the trip.