Deadline for motorcycle barrier compliance extended anew

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) —  Authorities have moved to July 31 the deadline for putting up barriers that will allow cohabiting couples to ride on motorcycles together.

“The National Task Force Against COVID-19 led by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has approved another extension for motorcycle riders to comply with the barrier which is a requirement for pillion riding,” the Joint Task Force COVID Shield said in a statement on Friday.

PLt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, joint task force head, said that he had already coordinated with the Philippine National Police for the dissemination of information about the new deadline.

The deadline was supposed to be on Sunday, July 26, but it was extended due to "mounting requests" from motorcycle riders as they have a hard time buying materials for the protective shields, which should be based on two prescribed prototypes, Eleazar said.

The first design was proposed by Bohol Governor Arthur Yap which uses an acrylic barrier held by a steel frame attached to passenger foot pegs while the second one is the backpack-like design developed by ride-hailing firm Angkas.

Eleazar said “motorcycle dealers across the country were already advised as to where motorcycle riders could avail of the approved barrier design,” adding the barriers will also be sold online.

Back riding is allowed strictly for spouses and live-in partners for now, authorities have repeatedly said. This is to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, they said, but experts disagreed, noting the danger it poses.

Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association, Inc. has said wearing helmets and face masks or balaclava is already “an excellent measure in preventing infection.”

Couples must present proof they live together when questioned by law enforcers or at quarantine control points.

In a briefing, a Department of the Interior and Local Government official said they recorded a total of 13,665 violators of the pillion riding policy. Of the number, 1,283 are unauthorized back riders, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said.