DILG: Another motorcycle barrier design for back-riding couples approved by NTF

Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo M. Año today said that the National Task Force (NTF) for COVID-19 chaired by Secretary Delfin Lorenza has approved another design of the motorcycle barrier or shield which can now be used by back-riding couples in addition to the earlier design of Governor Art Yap of Bohol which was approved last week.

DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año said that the two designs are among the several proposals submitted to the NTF chaired by Sec. Lorenzana, and both complied with the minimum health standards set by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID). He said that both barriers will maintain the requirement for physical distancing in the transportation sector.

“We encourage the motorcycle-riding public to utilize these two prototypes na inaprubahan na din naman ng NTF kaya inaasahan natin na ang ating mga kababayan ay makikiisa at susunod sa pamantayang ito,” said Año, who is also the vice-chairman of NTF.

He stressed that back-riding is strictly for husbands and wives, common-law couples, and live-in partners only, but he does not discount the possibility that once our COVID situation improves that more people will be allowed to backride. “In the meantime, ito muna ang inapprove ng NTF at ng ating chairman, si Secretary Lorenzana,” he added.

Año said that the second design approved by the NTF is likened to a backpack worn and strapped on the motorcycle driver and was initially proposed by motorcycle taxi platform Angkas.

He explained that Angkas’ plastic shield apparatus, just like the first design approved by the NTF, is a requisite to all those who are allowed to back-ride. He said that the new approved shield barrier maintains social distancing and is made of lightweight, high-density plastic, allowing road visibility with handles that can be used by the backrider.

“This second approved design is somehow simpler as it will only be strapped to the motorcycle driver and not mounted directly on the motorcycle itself, unlike the first design. Maganda din naman na mayroong option ang ating mga kababayan but as of today, both are already approved to be used,” Año said.

Since the design was debuted by Angkas last month, it has gained public support and was shared on various social media platforms. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte released a city-wide memorandum that allows “alternative design of the barrier (from Angkas, JoyRide) that may be used in addition to the Bohol design.”

The initial motorcycle barrier design for back-riding couples was proposed by Bohol Governor Arthur Yap and was approved for use by the NTF last July 10, 2020.

Meanwhile, he said that husbands and wives, common-law couples, and live-in partners will need “to present IDs at Quarantine Control Points or to law enforcers as proof that they are indeed a couple.”

He added that the public’s cooperation and discipline will play a crucial role in fighting the coronavirus. He said that these measures will be in vain “if the people will insist in acting like we were in pre-COVID-19 times.”

“Ito pong motorcycle barriers or shield, physical distancing at iba pang hakbang laban sa COVID-19 ay subok na at napag-aralan. We urge the people to practice discipline and cooperate with the government as we collectively battle this virus,” he said.

He maintained that in addition to the motorcycle barrier/shield, back-riding couples must always wear their facemask, helmet, and abide by traffic rules. Earlier, he also reminded police officers to be the first ones to adhere to government regulations.