Have you purchased a motorcycle barrier so that you and your spouse can travel without being bothered by the authorities? Well, keep it at home, because you no longer need to use it.
Motorcycle barriers will no longer be required for riders traveling with their housemates starting today, Joint Task Force COVID Shield commander Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar announced yesterday.
However, passengers traveling together who do not live in the same house must use a government-approved barrier. The driver may or may not be an authorized person outside of residence but his passenger should be such.
The government initially mandated that all those riding pillion, including spouses, need to use the shield supposedly to prevent getting infected with COVID-19. Passengers said that wearing a mask and a helmet should be enough protection, adding that the government has yet to provide scientific proof that the shield actually prevents COVID-19.
“All they have to do is to present proof that they indeed live in the same house to avoid being apprehended and cited for violation of the motorcycle back-riding,” Eleazar told Manila Bulletin.
The National Task Force for COVID-19 announced last night that they have approved the new guidelines, which occurred after motorcycle manufacturers and users said that using the barriers puts passengers in danger because of aerodynamics. Despite the advice of experts, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who is not an engineer nor a doctor, stubbornly refused to change the rule, spitefully saying that Filipinos “should wait to get infected with COVID first before commenting” about the barrier issue.
Año announced over the weekend that he tested positive for COVID-19 for the second time.
Eleazar said the new rules about riding pillion will apply in all areas covered by the general community quarantine (GCQ), including Metro Manila, Laguna, Bulacan, and Rizal, which were previously under the stricter modified enhanced community quarantine. For places under the modified GCQ, local governments were given the authority to follow the same rules on riding pillion or crafting their own regulations.