The July 19 deadline for motorcycle riders to comply with barriers for pillion riding was extended to July 26 for them to have more time to conform to the safety standards, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said on Saturday.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, said their recommendation for extension was approved by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 amid calls from motorcycle riders and some officials for more time for compliance on the two approved designs— the Bohol prototype and the Angkas design.
“As per our Secretary of the Interior and Local Government (SILG) Eduardo Año, from the original July 19, the deadline for motorcycle riders to comply with the required barrier for pillion riding is now moved to July 26,” said Eleazar.
Motorists themselves have been asking for extension in order to ensure that their compliance conforms to the safety standards set by the NTF Against COVID-19.
Senator Bong Go also asked the Inter-Agency Task Force on the Management of the Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF-MEID) and the NTF Against COVID-19 not to rush the implementation of the motorcycle barriers, citing that the safety of the riders should be taken into consideration.
While waiting for the full implementation of the motorcycle barrier, Eleazar said they will continue to warn those who have not complied to follow the rules set by the NTF Against COVID-19 in the soonest possible time. He added that they will also continue to apprehend motorists for other violations.
“We hope that the two-week grace period is more than enough for motorists to conform to the safety standards of the two approved designs to ensure the safety of both the driver and the riders,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar also asked for understanding and patience, saying calls to normalize back-riding due to limitations of public transportation will eventually be allowed depending on the compliance to the motorcycle barrier for pillion riding.
“Like wearing face masks, these motorcycle barriers will be part of the minimum health safety protocols that will be strictly implemented, unless the vaccine for COVID-19 is discovered and is made available to the public,” said Eleazar.
“In the meantime, let us respect the decision of the NTF Against COVID-19 to limit the pillion riding to married couples and living in couples because eventually, this could be extended to those living in the same roof and then to everybody come the lifting of Community Quarantine,” he added.