Recto: Why put up barrier on bike if ride ends in goodbye kiss?
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto is asking officials involved in the government’s pandemic response to conduct “test runs” and review the necessity of having plastic barriers installed on motorcycles as a supposed measure to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
Recto made the call on Saturday, days after the government allowed married couples and live-in partners to ride tandem, ending a monthslong ban, provided that there’s a barrier between them.
A design for such a barrier, coming from Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap, was approved early this week by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Recto raised concerns over the safety issues of having such an installation, asking whether it was even necessary for couples riding tandem.
Green light from science
“What’s the use of a barrier when couples hold hands in going to the motorcycle, and kiss each other goodbye after the ride?’’ he said in a statement. “As a virus shield, it is as effective as installing a concrete road divider on the matrimonial bed.”
There would be no use for the divider if couples get intimate at home anyway, the senator said.
There have also been concerns that having such dividers could compromise the safety of motorcycle riders, he added.
“Please don’t get me wrong, I do commend well-meaning initiatives to get breadwinners who ride pillion on motorbikes on the road again, but such [measures] should get the green light from science. Before we flag this off, can we please subject it to test runs and workshop review by experts?” he said.
But according to Police Lt. Gen Guillermo Eleazar, the chief of the Joint Task Force COVID-19 Shield, requiring motorbikes to have plastic barriers was a step toward gradually easing travel restrictions in areas under community quarantine.
More people, not just couples, would eventually be permitted to ride tandem, Eleazar said at the Laging Handa briefing on Saturday.
He also reiterated that same-sex couples who live together are also allowed to ride together, but they still need to show IDs or a barangay certification showing that they live in the same address.
“What we exercise is common sense or our consideration,” he added.
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