MANILA – Back-riding on motorcycles will soon be allowed despite the strict quarantine restrictions to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic, Malacañang said on Saturday.
During the Laging Handa program aired on state-run PTV-4, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said guidelines would be crafted to ensure the proper enforcement of safety protocols for back-riding.
“Pinapayagan na in principle ang back riding upon the approval of the requirements na ise-set ng technical working group. Hintay-hintay na lang po muna (Back-riding on motorcycles is already allowed in principle upon the approval of the requirements set by the technical working group. So let’s just wait),” Roque said.
The government has imposed a “no back-ride” policy amid the nationwide community quarantine due to health safety reasons.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said he could not allow motorcycle back-riding because strict physical distancing cannot be observed.
Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has ordered the departments of Transportation, Science and Technology, and Health; the Metro Manila Development Authority; and the Bureau of Philippine Standards to look for the “safest and effective” manner to ensure the safe back-riding amid the outbreak.
“[Sila ay] inatasan na mag-pulong at alamin ang pinakaligtas at pinaka-ebektibong paraan para mabawasan ang transmission sa back-riding sa mga motorsiklo (They have been directed to convene and determine the safest and most effective way to reduce the rate of transmission in back-riding on motorcycles),” he said.
The latest directive of the IATF-EID, which was contained in its Resolution 47 approved on Friday, came amid growing appeals by local government units to allow back-riding.
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on June 3 signed an executive order allowing back-riding on motorcycles within the province.
Duterte, however, thumbed down Garcia’s plan to allow back-riding in Cebu amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Roque appealed to the public to observe physical distancing, as he warned that Covid-19 remains a threat to the country.
“Baka naman yung kawalan ng social distancing ang maging dahilan para magkasakit at mamatay. So ingat po at palaging isipin, habang walang bakuna, habang walang gamot, banta po ang Covid-19 (We might get infected or die due to lack of social distancing. So let’s be careful and always think that without vaccine or drug, Covid-19 is still a threat),” he said. Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos /PNA – northboundasia.com