Various motorcycle groups across the country vowed on Thursday to assist the government in enforcing the new rules on motorcycle back-riding in apparent bid to show gratitude after the National Task Force on COVID-19 approved the recommendation to remove the barriers for pillion riding involving people living in the same house.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, said the Riders of the Philippines is a group composed of groups of riders in various parts of the country.
In a statement sent to the JTF COVID Shield, the group welcomed the decision to ease the restrictions of motorcycle back-riding and vowed to help monitor violations of other motorcycle riders.
“In appreciation of this effort, our groups will take part in Operation Habal Watch and report them to avoid the abuse of this decision and to protect the riding public. Again, we are extending our gratitude and would like to let you know that we are here to work with you for as long as it benefits both sides and does not undermine safety,” the Riders of the Philippines said in a statement.
The statement was signed by heads of at least 14 motorcycle rider groups from Metro Manila, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
In the same letter, the group appealed not to limit the use of head safety gear to full-face helmets but Eleazar clarified that under the guideline issued by the Philippine National Police, motorcycle riders and back-riders are required to use helmets with full-face visors that must be worn all the time with face masks by the riders and back-riders during the ride.
Eleazar said the Riders of the Philippines is a formidable augmentation of the PNP since it is composed of various motorcycle rider groups across the nation.
“On behalf of the National Task Force COVID-19 chaired by Secretary of National Defense Delfin Lorenzana and the JTF COVID Shield, we express our gratitude to the people and groups composing the Riders of the Philippines for their decision to voluntarily help the national government on the enforcement of the motorcycle riding rules,” said Eleazar.
“The fight against COVID-19 cannot be won by the government alone. The government needs all the assistance and cooperation of as many people and groups for the protection of everybody, for the protection of our country. We are elated that big groups like the Riders of the Philippines have put their words into action by lending their help in one of the important measures to protect the public from the coronavirus. We really appreciate it,” he added.
In order to be allowed to pass the Quarantine Control Points and random checkpoints by the PNP Highway Patrol Group, the riders and back-riders must present documents like identification cards and barangay certificates that they are living in the same house, according to Eleazar.
He added that back-riders must also be included in the list of the Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APORs), although the rider may or may not be APOR for as long as the travel is intended to transport and fetch APORs to their workplaces and back home, particularly the medical frontliners.
Eleazar, however, clarified that the use of motorcycle barriers is required for riders and back-riders who are not living in the same house, adding that the move is to ensure that the new guideline on pillion riding will not be abused especially by those who would attempt to use their motorcycles for rent.
The new rules on pillion riding are being implemented at the areas under General Community Quarantine like Metro Manila and nearby provinces while Local Government Units (LGUs) of areas under Modified GCQ are given the authority to either adapt the same rules or craft and implement their own motorcycle pillion riding rules.
Eleazar explained that the approval of the new motorcycle back-riding rules is actually part of the gradual transition being implemented by the national government to facilitate the transportation for those who are exempted from community quarantine amid limited operations of mass transport system and Public Utility Vehicles.