Palace justifies approval of motorcycle back-riding for couples

Malacañang said only couples are allowed to ride on motorcycles at the same time because the initial clamor for pillion riding or back-riding was for couples only.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque (OPS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Presidential spokesman Harry Roque made the statement after Interior Secretary Eduardo Año announced that pillion riding will be allowed for couples only starting Friday, July 10.

In his Thursday press briefing, Roque explained that only couples are allowed because that was what the public asked for during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period when no public transportation was operating.

"Hindi pa rin po kasi ang clamor naman po para sa mga mag-asawa initially (It's still not allowed because the initial clamor was to allow married couples)," he said when asked if a rider can also ride the motorcycle with his child or sibling.

According to Roque, couples would have to present an identification card and a photocopy of their marriage contract to authorities should they be flagged.

However, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) said they would clarify if common-law partners are also allowed to ride a motorcycle together as long as they show proof that they live in the same address.

He added that motorcycles should have a transparent partition that serves as a shield between the two riders like the prototype designed by Bohol Governor Arthur Yap.

Couples would also have to follow public health standards and road safety standards like the wearing of face masks and helmets and observing the speed limit.

Meanwhile, Roque reiterated that pillion riding is only allowed for private use since Angkas and other motorcycle taxis have no existing franchise that allows their operation.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases had approved "in principle" pillion riding last month.

Since the lockdown was declared on March 15, the public has been appealing to the government to allow back-riding in motorcycles due to the suspension of public transportation. However, the IATF rejected the suggestions down due to the lack of physical distancing.

President Duterte had thumbed down the move of different local government units to allow back-riding in motorcycles, saying they have to follow the guidelines issued by the IATF.

Read more: DILG set to allow motorcycle backriding