Pillion riding in Bogo City: ‘Are barriers part of the requirement? No.’
CEBU CITY—Motorcycles in Bogo City are allowed to carry passengers without barriers between driver and rider in violation of a national government policy meant to prevent coronavirus transmission while allowing pillion riding.
Bogo City Mayor Jose Carlo Martinez issued an order last Aug. 5 allowing motorcycle owners to travel with one pillion rider if they belonged to the same household provided this was done without fare and with documents showing relationship and ID cards.
According to the mayor’s executive order, driver and passenger must wear helmets, face masks, face shields and closed shoes. They must also carry with them home quarantine passes, one-day quarantine passes, workers’ passes and marriage contracts or certification from the city government that driver and rider are common-law spouses.
“Are barriers part of the requirements? No,” said the city government on a Facebook announcement. “This means that it is not required,” it said.
Director Leocadio Trovela, of the Department of the Interior and Local Government in Central Visayas, begged off from issuing a statement.
“We have yet to read the executive order. We defer to (sic) issue a comment,” he said.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año had ordered the use of barriers between motorcycle drivers and riders to prevent virus transmission. The order applies to every motorcycle driver or rider, regardless if they were spouses or family members.
The measure drew criticism from many people who said it was ridiculous to require barriers separating couples and family members who do not even practice distancing at home. They said helmets and face masks are enough protection.
Government officials allowed pillion riding for motorcycles in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan which are on modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from Aug. 4 to Aug. 18.
While riders don’t have to be first degree relatives of the driver, Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force Shield, said motorcycles must still have barriers between driver and rider.
In Bogo City, some 97 kilometers north of Cebu City, Mayor Martinez cited a provision of the Local Government Code of 1991 that allows local government units to enforce their own laws.
“A great percentage of the population of the City of Bogo depends on motorcycles for their daily essential travel during the community quarantine where there is want of adequate public transportation,” the mayor’s executive order read.
Bogo City, like most parts of Cebu province, has been on a more relaxed modified general community quarantine (MGCQ).
On Cebu island, only the cities of Cebu, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, and Talisay City and the towns of Minglanilla and Consolacion remain under general community quarantine (GCQ).
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