Task force relaxes rules on backriding

The National Task Force Against COVID-19 has further relaxed the rule on motorcycle back-riding as it allowed even motorcycle drivers who were initially barred to travel in Metro Manila and the four adjacent provinces under the Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) to assist medical frontliners and other essential workers amid the transportation woes. 

A vendor demonstrates how to ride a motorcycle with a plastic shield barrier behind his back sold for P950 along Quiapo Manila on Thursday, July 16, 2020. (Photo by Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)
(Photo by Jansen Romero / MANILA BULLETIN)

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said there are two main conditions that must be met in order for non- Authorized Person Outside Residence (APOR)  motorcycle riders to go out. 

First, motorcycles must have a barrier and that the purpose of travel is to transport medical frontliners and other essential workers to work and to fetch them to go back to their homes.

“This is the consideration given by the NTF Against COVID-19 to the medical frontliners and other essential workers who cannot drive a motorcycle or do not own motorcycles and are only depending on the motorcycles of their parents, family members, friends and neighbors for transportation from August 4 to August 18,” said Eleazar.

 Eleazar explained that even if the motorcycle riders are not APOR, they will not be cited for any violation at the Quarantine Control Points and random checkpoints if they are back-riding medical frontliners and other essential workers who are allowed to go out under MECQ.

“On their way back to their home after transporting APORs and on their way to fetch APORs from their places of works, the installed barrier will serve as a justification for the motorcycle drivers not to be penalized when they are checked at the border control points and random checkpoints,” said Eleazar.

“But they also have to show proof that their intention of their travel is to fetch a medical frontliner and other APOR, or that they are already on their way back home after transporting them,” he added.

For his part, Police Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Luis Licup, Director for Operations of the Philippine National Police and the Vice Commander of the JTF COVID Shield, also emphasized that the motorcycle drivers should not transport or fetch medical frontliners and other APORs for a fee.

“This is actually another condition set for motorcycle back-riding under MECQ. The transportation and fetching of medical frontliners and essential workers should be for free," said Licup.

Eleazar also advised motorcycle riders to be courteous and respectful in explaining the purpose of their travel to policemen in order to prevent arguments and other unnecessary confrontation with the lawmen manning checkpoints.

“On the part of the PNP,  our Chief PNP General Archie Francisco Gamboa has ordered our personnel to be courteous and to exercise maximum tolerance. Our police personnel are also human beings, they would understand any reason for violation for as long as it is done in a proper and courteous way,” said Eleazar.