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Backs riders back in Cebu, mayors cheer Gov Garcia’s move

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CEBU CITY – In response to mounting clamors, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has decided to allow back riding on motorcycles in Cebu province, provided that the driver and back rider follow certain conditions.

Garcia issued Executive Order No. 19 on Wednesday regulating the use of motorcycles and specifically permitting “private owners to transport a passenger or back rider” as an answer to the lack of public transportation in towns and cities in the province during the general community quarantine.

However, Garcia’s order provides that there should be only one passenger allowed per trip and no fee should be charged.

This means that ride-hailing app Angkas and “habal-habal” as modes of transportation for a fee are not allowed in the province while under general community quarantine and succeeding quarantine classifications.

The order said that both the driver and passenger must wear Department Trade and Industry (DTI)-approved helmets under R.A. 10054, the Motorcycle Helmet Act of 2009.

“Both driver and passenger must wear closed shoes” and observe “applicable mandatory health standards” concerning the effort to prevent the transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

Garcia directed all the mayors in 44 municipalities and six component cities to issue their own executive orders adopting the provisions of EO 19.

The Provincial Board will convene on Friday to pass an ordinance allowing motorcycle back riding, as the EO said it will only take effect upon effectivity of the said measure.

The mayors who attended the meeting with Garcia, along with the regional officials of the Land Transportation Office and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, praised the governor’s decision.

Mayor Christina Garcia Frasco of Liloan town in the north of Cebu and president of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines (LMP)-Cebu Chapter said that the mayors “are very happy with this development because this will really benefit hundreds of thousands of people.

Frasco said that “in fact, more than a million people depend on the motorcycle as a way of transportation.”

“I think this is a comprise that will suit well in the majority of our population,” the LMP-Cebu president said in a video message she posted on her social media page.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) banned motorcycle back riding to arrest the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 following the implementation of community quarantine protocols nationwide.

In back riding, the DOTr said both the driver and the passenger are physically close to each other, thus, the high possibility of virus transmission. (PNA)