MANILA-- The Department of the Interior and Local Government stood firm on its ban against motorcycle back-riding, even for couples, despite the limited public transportation due to prevailing community quarantines.
During a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said it is difficult to "gamble" the lifting of the prohibition on back-riding since physical distancing would be difficult to implement.
"Mahirap na mag gamble na como mag-asawa, pwede sila magdikit sila sa publiko. Sa bahay, wala tayong magagawa. Pero sa publiko, kailangan ipatupad 'yung physical distancing," Año said.
(It's difficult to gamble that just because they are a couple they can already stay close to each other in public. We can't do anything about what they do indoors but we have to implement physical distancing in public.)
The government requires the public to stay at least a meter apart from each other to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
While motorcycle back-riding may be cheaper, Año said there is a bigger health risk since it violates physical distancing measures.
"Pagka nahawa iyung isa eh mahawa 'yung isa. It is costlier kung mamamatay sila," he added.
(When one gets infected, another will also get infected. It is constlier if they die.)
The DILG chief however assured the public that the prohibition would not last "forever" for as long as the COVID-19 situation in the country would improve.
"Ito naman po ay 'di forever, dadating naman tayo sa bagong normal," he said.
(This is not forever. We will also transition to the new normal.)
It can be recalled that Año previously encouraged motorcycle owners to put sidecars on their vehicles for the meantime. The government however does not allow such vehicles to traverse highways.