Motorcycle ride-hailing service, Angkas, donated 1,000 wearable motorcycle barriers to the Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield.
Receiving the donation were Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary, Eduardo Año, and task force chief, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, from Angkas head transport advocate, George Royeca in Camp Crame, Quezon City.
JTF COVID Shield Commander Gen. Eleazar said the motorcycle barriers will be given to various police stations in Metro Manila for distribution to qualified motorcycle drivers. Priority will be given to motorcycle riders who regularly ferry their spouses, live-in partners, relatives and friends who work as medical frontliners.
“This benevolent act of the Angkas Group led by Mr. George Royeca is a clear manifestation that the spirit of bayanihan is very much alive and continues to be a defining value of Filipinos especially in this time of global pandemic,” Eleazar said.
The JTF Covid Shield and Angkas have also agreed to deploy 1,000 Angkas riders near hospitals identified by the Department of Health to provide free rides to health workers attending to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients. These are the Philippine General Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital, Ospital ng Sampaloc in Manila; the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City; and the Tala Hospital in Caloocan City. Some Angkas riders will also be placed on standby at the National Kidney Institute, Quezon City General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, Quirino Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City; and, Ospital ng Maynila as well as Fabella Hospital in Manila.
Medical workers who are on their way home can approach the Angkas riders and present their identification cards to avail of free rides on their way back to their respective places of residence.
“This endeavor will ensure that our medical frontliners can perform their tasks and not be hampered by lack of transportations on their way for work, and back home,” Eleazar added.
At the event, Año defended anew the government's motorcycle barrier requirement. The secretary said that critics have nothing better to suggest, and waiving the requirement could result in the greater number of people being infected by Covid-19.
Año said the measure has scientific basis, noting the requirement is also being used by Indonesia as part of their anti-Covid-19 prevention measures.
The Angkas barriers are one of two designs of motorcycle barriers that are approved by the government in compliance with safety protocols for pillion riding amid the health crisis.