MANILA — An inter-agency task force has again extended the deadline for installing protective dividers for pillion riding on motorcycles, the interior department said Friday.
The "final extension and deadline" for motorcycle riders to comply with the barrier is July 31, said Interior Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya.
The pandemic task force earlier set the deadline for the barriers on July 20, then moved it to July 26.
The government approved 2 prototypes for the barrier: a shield attached to the motorcycle and designed by the Bohol provincial government, and a second backpack-like design by ride-hailing platform Angkas.
"We will continue monitoring and warning those w/o barriers while citing/apprehending those with other violations particularly UNAUTHORIZED BACKRIDING," Malaya said in a text message to ABS-CBN News.
Motorcycle backrides are allowed only for married couples or live-in partners.
As of Monday, authorities have flagged down 9,000 people for unauthorized backrides, Joint Task Force COVID Shield Commander Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
"Puwede na pong hulihin iyon dahil hindi po kasama sa grace period iyon—kahit may barrier," he said.
(We can arrest them because they are not covered by the grace period, even if they have a barrier between each other.)
But the barrier can affect a motorcycle's aerodynamic design and compromise its stability, the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers warned Thursday.
When the motorcycle is in motion, "the front side of the barrier builds up pressure while creating turbulence and suction behind the barrier," added the group. "This will not guarantee that the barrier will be effective in protecting both riders from the spread of air particles," it said.
- With a report from Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News