Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go has called on the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) and the National Task Force (NTF) for COVID-19 to consider a thorough and scientific study of various proposals for motorcycle back-riding in adherence to necessary health and safety protocols.
While Go welcomed the government’s decision to allow motorcycle back-riding for certain cases, he also urged concerned agencies to consult riders and motorcycle safety experts so they could also assist in determining the measures that should be required by government for backriding, such as the installation of makeshift shields on motorcycle units.
Go’s remarks came following criticisms on the safety of so-called physical barriers approved by the IATF.
Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla on Monday stressed that the physical barrier design for motorcycles “is dangerous, inconvenient and does not make sense.”
In a social media post, Remulla stressed that the approved design was made by “someone who has not ridden a motorcycle in his life, noting that it dangerous and inconvenient.
The Cavite governor also noted that wearing a mask, jacket and helmet should be enough for the passengers as government earlier said only couples are allowed due to the low chance of COVID-19 transmission in a household.
Earlier, Go expressed his support for the IATF’s decision to allow back-riding on motorcycles specifically for married couples, especially since public transportation is still limited in many areas in the country.
Guidelines on back-riding for couples were submitted by IATF’s technical working group for finalization. The same have also been submitted to the NTF which is also expected to come up with its own recommendations.
“Let’s listen to the concerns of riders since they are the ones affected. As one who also rides these vehicles, I do understand their sentiments,” Go said.
Go, also the chair of the Senate Committee on Health, emphasized that approved designs that will be required in back-riding must be based on scientific studies to ensure that these devices or installations will prevent the spread of COVID-19 and, at the same time, ensure the safety of riders and the general public.
According to Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año, the government is still open to more proposals, particularly on designs of barriers to be required between motorcycle drivers and back-riders.
Meanwhile, Go reminded the general public not to be complacent since the fight against the spread of COVID-19 is still ongoing. He advised Filipinos to limit themselves to essential movements only and continue to strictly comply with health and safety protocols being implemented.
The Senator reminded government officials to ensure that measures being implemented continue to be timely, responsive and decisive considering the best interests of Filipinos.
In other developments, Department of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday announced that the “special suit” or “backpack-type” design proposed by ride-hailing firm Angkas for back-riding in motorcycles has already been approved.