The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Wednesday said that motorcycle back rides are permitted only for allowed persons outside residence (APOR) in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite Laguna and Rizal areas which are currently under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said the government has allowed APOR to back ride under certain conditions which also include the wearing of face masks and helmets and provided that the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) approved barriers are used by the drivers and back riders.
On August 2, President Duterte placed the National Capital Region (NCR), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under the more restricted MECQ from the general community quarantine (GCQ) from August 4 to 18 with the surge of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases.
“Because of the prohibition on public/mass transportation under the current MECQ, motorcycle back riding is now allowed but only for authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) for them to be able to go to work provided that there is a physical barrier,” Año said.
Año also pointed out that the operation of tricycles is subject to the guidelines of the local government units (LGUs), stressing that “the first condition is the backride passenger must be an APOR and the travel is work-related’’.
“The LGU may also allow quarantine pass holders to ride in tricycles in going out to buy food or access essential services provided that there is only one passenger and that regular disinfection of the passenger seat is done by the driver,” he added.
Since there is no public transport for the APOR, Año said that back riders should not be strictly for couples or live-in partners which was the rule under GCQ.
The DILG chief maintained that it is still very urgent that the basic health protocol of physical distancing is still followed explaining why the barriers and wearing of helmets are mandatory under MECQ.
Año noted that the motorcycle owners can select from the two designs of barriers approved by the National Task Force (NTF) COVID-19.
He added the first was the design of Bohol Governor Arthur C. Yap and the second one was approved by the NTF is similar to a backpack worn and strapped on the driver initiated by motorcycle taxi platform Angkas.
Año pointed out “the third condition for pillion riding is that the motorcycle is privately owned, is not for hire and was not hired during the trip’’.
In short, Año noted that Angkas, Joyride and other ride services are prohibited.
He said the Philippine National Police (PNP) has been given instructions to inspect proof that the riders are APORs at checkpoints.
“We heal as one. No one is exempt from the quarantine protocols. But let us lessen the burden on our tired frontliners. Time out muna sila pero tayo tuloy-tuloy lang,” he concluded.