CEBU CITY, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said he would not allow backriding on motorcycles in Cebu despite an executive order signed by Governor Gwen Garcia allowing it on motorcycles in the province.
“As much as I would like to accommodate Governor Garcia, if I begin to give exception to one, I will open myself to charges of anti-graft law,” Duterte said. “Giving another undue advantage. There’s a provision there.”
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia signed Executive Order 19 on Thursday, June 4. The EO, however, conflicts with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) guideline banning backriding, regardless of family relations. (READ: Cebu province allows motorcycle backriding while under GCQ)
The DOTr guideline was approved by the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) resolution on the rules governing areas under GCQ.
“I’m sure that many are not so happy with their wife embracing the motorcycle driver. The law is hard but it is the law,” Duterte said. “I can’t do anything. It’s not my discretion just because I’m the President I can ignore the law of the land.”
Garcia openly challenged the legality of this provision in her press conference on Thursday, June 4. “There is no IATF resolution banning backriding,” Garcia said in Cebuano. “This is in flagrant violation of Republic Act 4136 which does not prohibit the use of private motorcycles to transport passengers provided the passenger is related within the 4th civil degree of consanguinity or affinity and provided further that no fee is charged,” she added.
The Cebu governor insisted that her EO is within the law regulating motorcycle use.
DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III said in a statement on Zoom on Thursday, through the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, that he would still enforce the policy against backriding in the province.
“We will not allow any back riders. I would suggest and tell the good governor not to implement and enact the EO, because if she does, and if that will happen in Cebu, I have no choice but to send her a show-cause order because this is a violation of an IATF guideline,” Densing said.
Garcia has been focusing on easing restrictions and jumpstarting the province’s paralyzed economy since the province shifted to general community quarantine (GCQ) on May 20. She called the policy “anti-poor” and would accept any sanctions by the DILG.
“They’re threatening to suspend me, but I’ll take it for you all, the Cebuanos,” she said in Cebuano.
Duterte denied Garcia’s petition despite a manifesto of support signed by all 7 of Cebu’s district representatives asking the President to allow backriding.
Cebu City Mayor Edgar Labella also made a second request to the IATF to allow backriding on motorcycles in his city. That request was also denied. – Rappler.com