NOTE: This story was first published in The Bohol Chronicle’s Sunday print edition.
Governor Arthur Yap clarified Friday that the use of a protective divider between the driver and passenger of motorcycles is no longer mandatory.
The statement of the governor came after mounting criticisms from the public surfaced ranging from the physical risk to monetary consideration.
Motorists who called DYRD’s top rated “InyongAlagad” and “TagbilaranByNite” public affairs programs said that the mounting of the acrylic divider will pose danger especially if the motorcycles will be cruising beyond 50 khp. Other motorists said spending P700 plus for the divider is too much amidst this time when thousands are jobless.
“A helmet and a face shield would just be practical,” according to most motorists.
The prototype done by the provincial government was picked up and approved by the National Inter Agency Task Force.
DILG Sec. Eduardo Año announced on national media that backriders will be allowed only if they have these dividers mounted in their motorcycles. He likewise announced the lifting on the ban on backriders in motorcycles specifying that couples be allowed.
However, Gov. Yap made a categorical pronouncement last Friday that backriders are not yet allowed in the province pending the formal release of the guidelines from the national IATF.
Sec. Año had noted that those living in the same household whether they are married or “boyfriend and girlfriend’’ are considered as couples.
They only need to prove that they are married or are living in the same address by showing their identification
“Kung live in sila, ganun din, the same address din. So there are so many ways paramapatunayanna they are
living in the same house,’’ Año said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s Teleradyo.
Año recognized that the prototype design approved by the Interagency Task Force for the protective divider was submitted by Bohol Gov.Yap. “May barrier between rider and passenger pagkatapos may handle sa side nung barrier at the same time kailangan mag wear ng mask at nakahelmetyung rider at passenger,” he said.
Motorcycle back riding was earlier banned nationwide as part of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
However, the measures was met with heavy criticism from the riding public who have mostly lamented that losing their right to ride their family’s motorcycles forces more people to commute and ride PUVs in which they are seated with more people.
They highlighted that family members live under the same roof while husbands and wives sleep on the same bed but are not allowed to ride a motorcycle together.