The Joint Task Force COVID Shield expressed Tuesday its readiness to recommend to the National Task Force Against COVID-19 the resumption of all motorcycle-hailing services. This move is aimed at easing the burden of the commuting public. The task force emphasized that the riders and drivers should be required to strictly follow heath and safety protocols, including the use of barriers.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield, said since the National Task Against COVID-19 has allowed motorcycle pillion riding for all the Authorized Persons Outside Residence (APOR), he does not see any reason why the operation of the motorcycle taxis will not be allowed, especially if it is aimed at augmenting the public transportation system.
"Since we are allowing that for private use, at 'yun nga po ang iniimplement natin ngayon, ay ano po ba ang pagkakaiba noon kung matutulungan natin itong ibang kababayan natin na walang motorsiklo but may available naman na motorcycle taxi as long meron pong barrier na base sa pagaaral ay inaprubahan ng IATF,” he told the House Committee on Transportation during its virtual deliberations on the resumption of the motorcycle taxi pilot study by the government agencies.
(Since we are allowing that for private use, and that is what we are implementing now, what will be its difference if we can help our people who do not own motorcycles, but there are available motorcycle taxis that can operate, as long as there is a barrier based on the study, which was approved by the IATF.)
House Transportation panel chair Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento urged JTF, and Department of Transportation (DOTr) to recommend to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) that motorcycle taxis be allowed to operate to fill the gap on the country's prevailing transportation vacuum due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“There are four companies , if they will comply with your motorcycle barrier policy, will you recommend to the IATF to finally allow the motorcycle taxi to start already plying the routes in Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao?,” Sarmiento asked Eleazar.
As long as there is barrier and they have helmets, and provided that our passenger has own helmet, equipped with full visor, and the Joint Task Force COVID Shield is tasked to implement the rules and regulations, Eleazar said, they will highly recommend this to the National Task Force.
Sarmiento said the IATF should finally allow the motorcycle taxis to operate so that they can gather the necessary data they needed for the crafting of a law seeking to legalize the operations of the two-wheel vehicles.
“We cannot craft the law without the data. Tapos na po ang Senate version, ang House version ang kulang. Hindi po namin magawa kung hindi makumpleto ang datos na kailangan po namin (The Senate version is already done, the House version is not yet complete. We cannot craft the law, if we don’t have the data we need),” he said.
"Nagpapasalamat tayo sa DOTr na natapos ang report, kaso kulang pa po. Kailangan pa po talaga patakbuhin ang mga motorsiklo para matapos ang kailangan na datos,” he pointed out.
(We thank the DOTr for finishing its report, but it is still lacking. We need to allow the motorcycle taxis to operate so that we can have the needed data.)
The Department of Transportation’s TWG had submitted to the Transportation panel its report on pilot testing, which lapsed on March 23.
It has been noted that operations of motorcycle taxis were stopped ahead of the expiration of the pilot tests following the government’s imposition of enhanced community quarantine all over Luzon on March 17.
During its virtual motu proprio probe on land transportation policies concerning the back-riding and motorcycle taxi operations on July 30 , the Sarmiento panel approved the motion made by Quezon City 2nd District Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo that the operation of the motorcycle taxis be allowed. The aim is to help the government augment its public transport system, respond to the transportation needs of the commuting public, and at the same time, allow owners of motorcycle taxis to reclaim their means of livelihood.