THE physical barrier in motorcycles is not a safety concern, asserted the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday.
“We do not see this as a possible cause, a possible safety concern,” said DILG spokesman and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya at the Laging Handa press briefing.
According to Malaya, the barrier design was approved by the National Task Force Against Covid-19 (NTF) in order to allow motorcycle backriding nationwide.
The Land Transportation Office (LTO) supported the barrier and experts checked the design submitted by the Bohol Provincial Government, insisted Malaya.
“Kailangan lang po talaga maging maingat kasi kahit wala pong physical barrier, meron po talagang nangyayaring aksidente (We really need to be careful because even without the physical barrier, there really are accidents that happen),” reasoned Malaya.
Those riding in tandem without the barrier will initially be warned and then eventually apprehended by law enforcers, added the spokesman.
There may even be the possibility of other family members safely backriding in the succeeding days, concluded the undersecretary.
Meanwhile, LtGen. Guillermo Eleazar said the Philippine National Police has not yet logged any major untoward incident on the first day of the implementation of motorcycle backriding.
However, Eleazar did say there were reports of riders who insisted on passing quarantine control points (QCPs) without the minimum personal protective equipment (PPE).
Eleazar, the commander of Task Force Covid Shield, urged all motorcycle riders to respect law enforcers manning QCPs.
“The set of rules for motorcycle backriding is a balance between safety and the necessity of transportation. Our motorists have long requested for this, and now that it was finally granted, please do not abuse it,” said Eleazar in a statement.
Eleazar bared that the NTF has already crafted initial guidelines for implementation. He reminded that both drivers and backriders should wear the minimum PPE, namely face masks and helmets.
Only couples or partners who live in the same house are allowed to backride and are required to present proof of partnership or cohabitation.