OFFICIALS of three local government units in Cebu are appealing to the national government to lift the nationwide ban on motorcycle backriding to help address transportation problems in their areas.
Talisay City Mayor Gerald Anthony Gullas Jr., Consolacion Mayor Joannes Alegado and Carcar City Vice Mayor Nicepuro Apura believe that allowing motorcycle backriding could solve transportation woes in their areas as public transportation is still limited due to their quarantine status.
Talisay City is currently under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) while Consolacion and Carcar City are under general community quarantine (GCQ).
The three officials expressed their support for motorcycle backriding during a live interview organized by the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (Opav).
Gullas said he supports the lifting of the ban on motorcycle backriding, especially for families who depend on motorcycles as their means of transportation.
“I just hope that the national government will allow our constituents who are mostly motorcycle owners to backride since it is our main means to travel within the city,” Gullas said.
Echoing Gullas’s position, Apura also asked that backriding on motorcycles be allowed again.
The Carcar City vice mayor requested that single motorcycles be allowed to be used as means of public transportation or if not, allow backriding for husbands and wives.
For his part, Alegado explained that he prefers motorcycle taxis as a mode of transportation since physical distancing is not observed in four-wheel vehicles, which are usually loaded when transporting commuters.
He noted that motorcycle drivers could wear masks and use alcohol as sanitizers to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.
But the Land Transportation Office-Central Visayas (LTO 7) said the officials’ appeal is still subject for consideration before the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
For LTO 7 Director Victor Caindec, the appeal of the three officials was not a first.
Two months ago, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard Chan appealed to DOTr to lift the ban on motorcycle backriding, especially for married couples.
Both mayors even suggested to DOTr that motorcycle owners who are couples in their cities should be issued an “Angkas Card” as proof that they can show to security personnel whenever they leave the house.
But Caindec said the proposal of the two mayors was easy in writing but hard to implement.
Caindec said: “The DOTr’s position is we cannot afford to check every rider who has a passenger and validate their identities and relationship. We welcome their suggestion but still the IDs need to be checked. If we allow backriding for some, then we should just allow it for everyone. Exemptions are easier said than done but for people like me who are in law enforcement, it’s too big a risk.”
He added that providing an “Angkas Card” could be subjected to abuse and can easily be falsified. (PAC, PR / JKV)