MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte maintains his support for the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 (IATF) ‘No Backride’ policy on motorbikes.
According to Duterte, the policy remains unless no new case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is reported.
Prior to his statement, the President already turned down an appeal from the province of Cebu asking him to lift the policy in consideration to commuters due to limited public transport service.
The Chief Executive argued that exempting the province of Cebu from the policy will be unfair to other provinces that have been asking similar requests.
“If I begin to give an exemption to one, I will open myself to charges of Anti-Graft Law, giving another an undue advantage,” Duterte said.
Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia earlier recalled the city government’s executive order allowing back riders in the province.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año maintains that backriding cannot ensure the health safety of the riders against COVID-19 infection.
The national government has been criticized for the policy as critics argue that backriding should be allowed to married and cohabiting couples who have been living together.
Nonetheless, Año assured that the national government may consider lifting the policy once the country has flattened the curve on COVID-19 cases.
“Napakahirap talaga pero health risks po ang pinaguusapan natin, hindi ang convenience [Commuting is hard but what we are taking into consideration here is the health risks, not convenience],” he said.
“Pero ang buhay kapag nahawa ang isa, sigurado mahahawa ang isa. It’s costlier kung mamamatay sila [Life is what we are taking into consideration. When one is infected, his partner will be infected as well. It’s even costlier if they die],” he added. —MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)