Will we see a clash between the executive department and some local government units (LGU) over the implementation of the pillion riding ban? Earlier today, President Rodrigo Duterte threw his all-out support behind the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG) position on prohibiting backriding.
“The law is harsh, but we have to implement it,” Duterte said during a press conference following a cabinet meeting in Davao City. “Wala po akong magagawa diyan.”
“Ang virus ay walang pinipili, kahit mag-asawa,” said DILG secretary Eduardo Año, expressing the possibility that riding couples might be infected by the coronavirus, which could immediately spread to other members of their family. According to the official, the ban on pillion riding will not be forever, and he assures that backriding will soon be allowed in some low-risk areas.
“Ngayon kasi mahirap pa mag-gamble,” he stressed.
The burning issue of prohibiting backriding in areas under general quarantine community (GCQ) was brought to the President based on mounting requests from local government officials to immediately lift the ban, which is being implemented in line with social-distancing protocols on public transportation.
Among the concerned officials is Cebu governor Gwendolyn Garcia, who issued Executive Order (EO) No. 19-2020 last June 2 seeking to allow riders of non-commercial motorcycles to have a passenger, provided that the two occupants are living in the same household and they are related to each other by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree.
Garcia’s EO was set to be tackled today by the provincial board members who still need to pass an ordinance for it to be implemented. The governor claimed that a big majority of the province’s more than five million residents are suffering from the serious shortage of public transportation. In pushing for EO No. 19-2020, Garcia even said she’s ready to be suspended by the DILG for defying the ban on pillion riding. However, the governor withdrew the EO hours after Duterte backed the DILG’s decision to maintain the ban on backriding.
While these officials argue endlessly over the issue, millions of our countrymen continue to suffer as the government cannot provide them alternative transportation during these critical times. What do you think will happen next?