Backriding in motorcycles has already been “allowed in principle” but subject to guidelines to be drafted by the National Task Force (NTF) on COVID-19 response, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Saturday.
The use of motorcycles is popular among the Filipino working class as it is cost-efficient, and drivers are able to weave through heavy traffic on the country’s choked roads.
Roque, speaking during the Laging Handa briefing on state-run TV, revealed the Department of Transportation (Dotr), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Health (DOH), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), were ordered to meet to find out the best way to prevent virus transmission between driver and passenger on motorcycles.
Public transport, however, remains limited even as quarantine restrictions have been eased.
“So malapit na po ang backriding pero kinakailangan ang NTF po ang mag-issue ng nga guidelines (So we’re close to being allowed to backride again but NTF has to issue guidelines.),” Roque said.
“Pinapayagan na in principle ang backriding upon the approval of the requirements na ise-set ng technical working group. Antay-antay na lang po muna at baka puwede nang mapayagan ang backriding
(Backriding has been allowed in principle upon the approval of the requirements to be set by the technical working group. Just wait and maybe it will be allowed.),” Roque also said.
Having a passenger on motorbikes remains prohibited in general community quarantine areas, including Metro Manila, keeping motorcycle taxi services off roads.
Even married or live-in couples are not allowed to ride together on motorcycles.
Authorities expressed concerns that the proximity may lead to virus spread.
Motorcycle taxi services have proposed the use of especially designed plastic shields between the driver and passenger as a way to comply with health standards./Stacy Ang