Barrier requirement in preparation for return of back riding for all – police task force

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 11) — Barriers were required between couples who live together when back-riding in line of the gradual re-allowing of pillion riding for the general public, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said on Saturday.

"Base po sa pahayag ng National Task Force at ng Inter-Agency Task Force ay ito po'y pinag-aralan nila kasi nga po, ang sinasabi nga, ito'y dahan-dahan na pagpunta natin dun sa pagluluwag," JTF COVID Shield PLt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said during the regular Laging Handa virtual briefing. "So initially, ito pong mga partners muna and eventually, maaaring sa mga (ka)mag-anak na and then eventually, para po sa lahat na rin po ang punta nito," he added.

[Translation: Based on what the National Task Force and Inter-Agency task Force said, they're studying it because we are gradually gearing towards the easing (of restrictions on back-riding.) Initially, only (live-in) partners are allowed for the meantime, then relatives, then eventually, everyone will be allowed.]

READ: Govt. to allow back riding for couples starting July 10, but officials differ on guidelines

The official also explained that requiring barriers also serves as a "safety net" for non-qualified individuals who might take advantage of the new policy, adding the shields will still protect them from getting infected with the coronavirus.

The government mandated the installation of shields between motorcycle the back rider and the driver to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with Interior Secretary Eduardo Año noting earlier this will ensure no saliva droplets will hit either while in transit.

The Bohol local government's prototype will be adopted for the motorcycle barriers, with leeway for improvisation, said Eleazar.

Riders must also wear helmets and face masks in addition to the barriers, he added.

Anyone who fails to observe these will be charged in violation of Section 9 (e) or Republic Act 11332, which covers the non-cooperation of persons and entities affected by health events of public concern, Eleazar noted.

Offenders shall be penalized with a fine of ₱20,000 to ₱50,000 or imprisonment of one to six months, or both, depending on the court's discretion, according to the law.

Failure to wear helmets, in particular, is punishable under Republic Act 10054, he also reminded. RA 10055 imposes fines of ₱1,500 for the first offense, ₱3,000 for the second offense, ₱5,000 for the third offense, and ₱10,000 plus confiscation of driver's license for the fourth and succeeding offense.

The penalties for not wearing face masks, meanwhile, depend on the ordinance of the local government unit of the area where the violator was apprehended, added Eleazar.

Back-riding married couples shall show IDs or marriage certificates at quarantine control points or to law enforcers, while common-law partners must present documents proving they share a place of residence.