The first day the government allowed couples or live-in partners to ride a motorcycle together was marked with confusion, and this prompted the Philippine National Police - Highway Patrol Group (PNP - HPG) to defer arresting violators.
Instead, PNP-HPG personnel manning checkpoints opted to give riders on motorbikes with no divider a warning instead of apprehending them for violating the regulations set by the IATF.
“Ngayong araw, warning lamang. Hindi pa po tayo manghuhuli,” said PNP-HPG director Brig. Gen. Eliseo Cruz during a radio interview.
There were a quite a big number of couples who hit the streets even though their motorbikes were not equipped with the protective shields required by the IATF. Cruz’s men just conducted a random inspection of the documents that would establish their relationship—marriage certificate, driver’s license, company IDs, and even wedding photos.
“Hinanapan natin sila ng identification na patunay na sila nga ay mag-asawa o mag-live in partner,” Cruz added. Not even wedding rings will be accepted by the HPG as proof of the riders’ relationship. Live-in partners, on the other hand, will have to show documents that say they live under one roof.
In their desire to go to work on a motorbike instead of spending hours waiting for public transportation, some pillion riders used improvised dividers made of cardboard or hard plastic that was tied to the rider’s vest.
Although these riders were not cited for any violation of either traffic or quarantine policies, they were instructed to use the materials and design of the prototype barrier that were submitted by Bohol governor Arthur Yap to the IATF. Cruz also reminded the riders to make sure that the brackets for the protective shield are properly mounted to ensure their safety.
When asked to comment on the safety issues raised against the protective barrier, Cruz said: “Hindi po kami magko-comment diyan dahil ang trabaho po namin ay magpatupad ng batas.” Well, is there anything safer than that?