MMDA: Frontliners not exempted in ‘no backride’ policy during ECQ
MANILA, Philippines — Even healthcare workers who are frontliners in the fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) are not exempted in the “no motorcycle back-riding” policy being imposed during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
The Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Sunday said it is only following the guidelines set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID).
“We are very sorry but there are no exemptions based on the guidelines of IATF and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, ‘no angkas’policy tayo,” MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago told INQUIRER.net in a phone interview.
Pialago issued the remark after a Facebook post went viral recounting how a motorcycle rider was apprehended by an MMDA traffic constable even though he was just transporting his sister-in-law, who is a medical worker, to the hospital.
The rider, Michael Villanueva, said his sister-in-law was forced to alight from the motorcycle and his driver’s license was confiscated as he was also given a traffic violation ticket.
Later on, the MMDA traffic enforcer allowed the frontliner to board Villanueva’s motorcycle after she was made to wait for a ride for about 30 minutes.
“Ang ending, pinasakay din sa ‘kin with violation ticket and 5,000 na tubusin,” he said.
(She was eventually allowed to ride in my motorcycle but I still got a violation ticket and a 5,000 fine.)
“This should be given immediate attention lalo na po sa mga city mayor. Mabigyan niyo po sana sila ng exemptions or maayos na service na may sapat na oras,” Villanueva further wrote in his post.
(This should be given immediate attention, especially by city mayors. I hope the government gives them exemptions or transport services.)
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While apprehending the motorcycle is in itself not wrong, Pialago acknowledged that the frontliner should not have been allowed to ride the motorcycle again.
The traffic enforcer should have assisted the medical frontliner in finding a ride to the hospital.
“‘Yung traffic constable, dapat nakipag-coordinate sa aming mobile base para nakapagpadala ng mobile para ibaba ang frontliner sa pinakamalapit na waiting area at i-coordinate doon sa mga shuttle services at libreng sakay,” the MMDA official said.
“Hindi niya dapat pinabayaan at hindi pinasakay uli. Sa bagay na ‘yun, mali ang aming traffic constable,” Pialago added.
Pialago said the MMDA is now investigating the incident as it is also checking their resources such as CCTV footage to determine what really happened.
In a separate statement, the Department of Transportation also reiterated that motorcycle back riding is not allowed during the ECQ as this does not follow social distancing guidelines.
“Hindi po pinagbabawalan ang gumamit ng motor lalo na nung mga frontliners o nasa essential travel. Ang bawal lang po, yung may angkas,” it said.
(The riding of motorcycles is not prohibited especially for frontliners or those who need to travel. What is prohibited is the backriding.)
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