Coast guard staff draws flak for back-riding on motorbike despite strict ban

Khyne Palumar

Ready for another episode of government workers being the first to sidestep national rules?

The Philippine Coast Guard yesterday confirmed that two of their personnel have violated the ban on back riding on motorbikes, or the government’s anti-pillion rule, which has been strictly imposed in the National Capital Region to practice social distancing and curb the spread of COVID-19.

This comes after photos of the offenders clad in PCG uniform, last week circulated on social media.

In its statement, the PCG identified the rule-breakers as Seaman 2nd Class Arjae Dagsil, and Seawoman 2nd Class Mary Joy Collada, adding that the pair has employed a civilian lawyer and is cooperating with an ongoing investigation.

PCG Commandant Vice Admiral George Ursabia Jr. scolded the pair, and told reporters that they should be setting a good example on compliance to the public.

“As law enforcement officers, we should set the highest standard on compliance and cooperation to the whole-of-government efforts to curb the impact of COVID-19. With full compliance and cooperation, the country will successfully uphold public health and safety despite the pressing challenges of the present time,” Usabia said.

According to PCG’s reports, Collada’s boyfriend Dagsil fetched her from from Manila’s Port Area to PCG’s barracks in Taguig City. Dagsil, a medical worker who screened boat crew and fisherman for the coronavirus was supposedly coming off her 24-hour shift, but was unable to board any public transport, which is why she enlisted Dagsil’s help.

Despite the error on their ranks, the PCG urged the public to continue to comply with transport rules.

Earlier, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said people who ride behind motorbikes should be arrested, though government officials should at best, be chided for breaking said rule.

“Those back riders should be arrested. And the local government units tolerating this, they can be issued show cause orders, especially that the main supporter of the no back ride policy is no less than Interior Secretary Eduardo Año,” he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Ralph Recto has urged the government to allow married couples to be exempted from social distancing rules of riding a motorbike together, adding it would ease commuters’ cope with the “brutal” lack of transportation under the modified general community quarantine.

“If they share the same bed at night, why can’t they ride a bike together during the day?” Recto asked.


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