President Rodrigo Duterte said that backriding (having a pillion rider) on motorcycles is still not allowed under existing guidelines.
This was in response to Cebu governor, Gwendolyn Garcia executie order to allow pillion riding on motorcycles within the province, even if it defies the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), particularly the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“The law is hard but it is the law,” said President Duterte. He also added that, even though he is the chief executive, he cannot just ignore or bypass what’s stated in the current IATF protocols.
“We can’t do anything. It’s not my discretion. Just because I’m the President doesn’t mean I can ignore the laws of the land.”
Since the imposition of the lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, several Local Government Units (LGUs), as well as governors have asked the IATF-EID to allow pillion riding for their constituents. They pointed out that the reduced capacity of public transportation can be an added burden to the already difficult times their constituents are facing. Cavite governor, Jonvic Remulla, had already requested to allow pillion riding for Cavite residents, but was denied twice by the IATF-EID.
Photo sent to MotoPinas.com
By now, everyone is already aware of the birthday celebration of NCRPO chief Major General Debold Sinas, where the police held a mass gathering and posted it in their own NCRPO Facebook Page despite prohibition of such during the lockdown. In their defense, they called the celebration a mere “mañanita” or a simple way of greeting a birthday celebrant by serenading him with a special song. President Duterte has since defended the general, saying that he’s taking responsibility for the actions of Sinas.
“You say, ‘the law is the law.’ Well, that is on me. It’s my responsibility.”
Besides the actions of the NCRPO General, a lot of motorcycle riders have complained over selective apprehension. The IATF-EID has been strict on apprehending regular citizens with PhP5,000 fines for violating social distancing protocols and yet, have turned a blind eye to their colleagues in uniform. So far, only the MMDA has taken action, suspending 3 of its traffic constables for disobeying the prohibition on pillion riding.