INTERIIOR and Local Government Secretary Eduardo M. Año yesterday defended the Inter-Agency Task Force’s decision to require pillion riders to install motorcycle barriers which he said has been scientifically proven to be a deterrent against COVID-19.
The DILG chief said that despite criticisms from motorcycle groups, it’s a fact that motorcycle shields can protect the driver and his passenger from the deadly virus compared to merely wearing face masks, helmets and jackets.
Sec. Año cited many reviews of footages of motorcycle riders releasing droplets while driving and exposing their back-rider to their saliva. He added that there are many instances that motorbike riders remove their face shield and masks during short stops, mainly due to the hot weather.
“Pag tinatanggal nila ang face masks at shield, dun na maaaring magkaroon ng transmission,” he said. He issued the statement as he and Joint Task Force COIVD Shield, Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo T. Eleazar accepted the 1,000 motorcycle barriers donated by Angkas Group to the PNP for distribution to health workers who are using motorcycles as their main means of transport.
Sec. Año defended the IATF decision from motorcycle groups which have called their move "stupid."
“Me mga nagki-criticize dahil mahirap daw, responsibility daw ito ng government, ng health sector pero we just look at the issue. Karamihan ng pumupuna eh mga motorcycle enthusiasts na nandun sa mga lugar like Tanay tuwing weekend and hindi naman mga misis nila ang angkas nila,” he said.
“Let’s be practical here. We’re in a pandemic and saving lives is the bottomline. Kaya study first before commenting,” he said.
Año also defended the government response to the COVID-19 saying no country can say it has been successful so far in fighting the virus.
He particularly compared the country’s situation to that in the United States, Russia, India and Brazil. In the United States, he said that there have been 2,000 recorded COVID-19 deaths a day while there are 600 deaths in India a day.
The DILG chief said that the 2,000 recorded deaths in the U.S. in one day is the total volume of the deaths in the country since last March.
“What we do is to study the best practices of different countries and apply what is proper and practical,” he said.