By Betheena Unite
The two Coast Guard personnel who recently went viral online after being spotted violating the anti-pillion riding on motorcycles explained that it was the only way for them to go home and rest after a 24-hour duty.
Coming off a 24-hour duty as a frontliner assigned at the Integrated Advanced Command Post (IACP) 2 of the Task Group Laban COVID-19 Water Cluster in North Harbor, Port Area, Manila, Seawoman Second Class (SW2) Mary Joy Collada said she had no other way to get home that day, so she opted to back ride on a motorcycle driven by her partner Seaman Second Class (SN2) Arjae Dagsil.
In an investigation by the Philippine Coast Guard, Dagsil fetched Collada after exhausting all possible ways to get home or seek a place to rest after her duty. They were spotted pillion riding along Roxas Boulevard on June 2. Their picture was posted online and went viral.
According to the Coast Guard, Collada “performs medical screening of the ships’ crew and local fishermen to ensure that they remain safe from the threat of coronavirus disease.” On the day of the incident, she tried looking “for available transportation service but failed to do so.”
She also tried “contacting her fellow Coast Guard personnel for available sleeping areas, but the nearby barrack is under quarantine for a personnel who was declared positive for COVID-19 rested in the said sleeping area.”
This prompted her to resort to back riding from Manila to Taguig City.
The couple admitted that they were the individuals shown in the photo and explained their side Sunday before the Coast Guard Internal Affairs Service.
They also said that they will “wholly accept the consequences of their actions” or for violating the anti-pillion riding enforced by the Department of Interior and Local Government amid the general community quarantine.
To avoid a similar incident in the future, the Coast Guard has issued a directive reminding its personnel to strictly comply with protocols for the health and safety of the public.
Shuttle vehicles that provide 24/7 transport service have also been made available to further promote the welfare and safety of Coast Guard frontliners.