IATF asked to allow back-riding spouses

A HOUSE leader on Wednesday urged President Rodrigo Duterte  and the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) against coronavirus disease-19  (COVID)-19 to allow back-riding spouses on motorcycles in Metro  Manila, Central Luzon and other areas under general community  quarantine (GCQ).

“From the point of view of avoiding the virus, it is definitely safer  for a spouse to ride with her husband than taking the bus or tricycle  to work or to the grocery to buy household essentials,” said House  Assistant Majority Leader and Quezon City Rep. Precious Castelo.

“At least, she knows that her spouse is not infected. If he were, she  would not ride with him and she would isolate him for her family’s  safety. I am sure the President and the IATF would appreciate this,”  added Castelo.

For easier enforcement, Castelo suggested that the IATF require  couples to obtain a certification from their barangay chairman as  proof of their marriage and to always have with them a photocopy of  their marriage certificate for presentation to law enforcement  officers manning checkpoints.

Despite the fielding of more buses and opening of more routes, Castelo  lamented that public transportation is still not sufficient to  transport workers to their workplaces.

“Thus, we see many employees crowding loading areas for bus passengers  and train stations. Allowing back-riding spouses will certainly ease  this congestion,” Castelo stressed.

Castelo noted reports on television showing a couple on a motorcycle  with the wife holding a plastic frame as barrier to separate her from  her husband in compliance with physical distancing protocols.

Several other lawmakers have appealed for allowing back-riders.

However, Castelo’s proposal is limited to back-riding married couples.

The provincial government of Cebu has also pleaded with President  Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte to allow back-riders in the province due to  limited public transportation.

Earlier, Castelo urged the IATF and the Metro Manila Development Authority to designate a specific lane on EDSA for users of bicycles  and small motorcycles, which she said have become a popular means of transportation among low-income families during this time of pandemic.

She has also asked the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to  regulate prices of bikes and their parts.