MANILA - An official from the Department of the Interior and Local Government on Saturday defended the policy requiring protective dividers for pillion-riding on motorcycles, reiterating that such barriers are a necessary health measure amid the continuing threat of COVID-19.
This amid concerns and viral incidents of alleged accidents caused by the device while on the road.
In a press briefing Saturday on state TV, DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the design was earlier used by the Bohol local government when it allowed motorcycle riders to have a passenger on the pillion, the pad behind the driver's seat, and that no accidents have been recorded thus far.
Malaya also said incidents which have gone viral were caused by barriers which had the “wrong design” and were made of “faulty” materials such as glass, instead of acrylic.
"Inimbestigahan po namin and lumalabas po na faulty po ang ginagamit na barrier dahil may mga nagva-viral na diumano may nagkaka-aksidente,” Malaya said.
(We investigated these and we found that the barriers they used were faulty because there have been incidents of alleged accidents caused by barriers.)
He added that the design, proposed by Bohol Gov. Arthur Yap, went through a thorough study and is safe.
But he encouraged the public to submit their own proposals for a barrier design, reiterating that the government will push through with requiring acrylic dividers for pillion-riding.
“Bukas po tayo sa ibang disenyo. Kung hindi sila sang-ayon magsumite sila ng disenyo. Naninindigan po ang NTF (National Task Force) na kailangan ang barrier dahil ang physical distancing [kailangan],” Malaya said.
(We are open to other designs in case they don't agree. But the National Task Force stands by the need for barriers because we need physical distancing.)
Authorities this July allowed pillion-riding in motorcycles for couples provided they have barriers for physical distancing and documentation to prove that they live under the same house, as government sought to allow more transportation units to operate amid the pandemic.
However, groups warned that the barriers may affect a motorcycle’s aerodynamic design and cause accidents.
The pandemic task force set the deadline for installing barriers on motorcycles on July 31 - the second time government extended the grace period.
The pandemic task force earlier set the deadline for the barriers on July 20, then moved it to July 26.