Riders appealing to the national government to allow pillion riding among family members is fast becoming a bandwagon, despite the continued of implementation of physical distancing.
The latest among local officials who are in favor of the proposal is Ako Bicol party-list representative Alfredo Garbin. He wrote a letter to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to echo the sentiments of other local government units (LGU) pushing for pillion riding among family members to be allowed.
Garbin thinks the motorcycle is the only mode of transportation available for the low-income segments of the population, and depriving them of such at this crucial time can have a serious impact on their livelihood.
A large number of factory workers, office staff, and even rank-and-file personnel from the service sector are forced to walk or ride a bicycle for several hours just to reach their workplaces. The IATF’s policy of limiting the passenger capacity of public utility buses and jeepneys also makes the daily commute more difficult for those who rely on these modes of transport.
Just recently, Mayor Rolen Paulino Jr. of Olangpo City had informed the IATF about his plan to issue an ‘angkas pass’ to those wanting to share a ride with a family member.
Under Executive Order No. 54, Paulino had stipulated that riders in Olongapo may allow a member of his household to ride with him, provided the former is armed with a quarantine pass and the latter has secured a barangay clearance as proof that they’re staying under one roof. The rationale is that barangay officials are the best persons to determine if a rider and his intended passenger are from the same household.
These added requirements, however, were not convincing enough for the Department of Transportation (DOTr), which upheld its ban on pillion riding.
“This is a bad precedent,” said DOTr assistant secretary Goddes Hope Libiran.
“We should also try to understand that apart from social distancing, the government also considers the aspect of uniformity and order when it comes to enforcing traffic rules and regulations,” she emphasized. “That is why the IATF does not recommend allowing exceptions in the ‘no back-ride policy.’”
Now that the national government is poised to place some areas of Metro Manila under general community quarantine anytime now, do you think it’s time to relax the ban on pillion riding, too?