MANILA – Motorcycle barriers are no longer required for riders living under the same roof in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ), Joint Task Force Covid Shield commander, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, said on Wednesday.
Eleazar made the announcement after the National Task Force (NTF) on the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) approved the transition protocol on motorcycle back riding that would be implemented starting August 19.
“But they have to show proof, either identification card, certification from the barangay, or any document showing that both the rider and the back rider have the same address to avoid being apprehended and cited for violation of the rules on pillion riding,” he said in a statement sent to reporters.
Under the protocol, riders not living in the same house must have a barrier similar to the one designed by the ride-hailing firm Angkas and the back rider must be an authorized person outside residence (APOR).
The driver may or may not be an APOR and the motorcycle must be privately owned and not for hire.
Eleazar clarified that motorcycle barriers would remain as a requirement for drivers and back riders who are not living in the same house, even if they are relatives.
Based on health protocols, both riders should wear face masks and full-face helmets “that must be worn all the time while back riding.”
Meanwhile, in areas under modified GCQ, local government units have the sole authority to implement the guidelines based on their situation.
The lifting of some restrictions on motorcycle pillion riding is proof that the NTF has been heeding the concerns and suggestions of the public, he said.
“As what Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año repeatedly said in the past, we will try to normalize the motorcycle pillion riding but this should be done gradually to prevent abuses by some hard-headed riders,” Eleazar said.
Based on data from JTF Covid Shield, a total of 57,973 motorcycle riders were warned and cited for violation of the rules on pillion riding since motorcycle back riding was allowed from July 10 until August 18.
Aside from Metro Manila and the provinces of Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan, he said the same rules on motorcycle pillion riding would apply in other areas under GCQ, among them Nueva Ecija, Batangas, Quezon, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City, and the municipalities of Minglanilla and Consolacion in Cebu province.
Eleazar said those who have already bought the motorcycle barriers have the option to use them even if they back ride with their spouses, partners, and other family members who live in the same house.
“Although it is no longer required, the use of the prescribed barrier is still advised because what we are preventing here is mass infection within the family. Once one family member is infected, it is usually certain that the rest of the family members would suffer. So we advise motorcycle riders to still take precautionary measures,” he added. (PNA)