After only a day, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia scrapped Friday, June 5, her executive order that would have allowed backriding in private motorcycles in Cebu province and practically disregarded the restrictions of the prevailing general community quarantine (GCQ).
It took an admonition from President Rodrigo Duterte during a public address broadcast nationwide Friday morning for the Cebu governor to take back her Executive Order No. 19 issued on Thursday, June 4.
Banning motorcycle backriding, regardless of family relations, during the pandemic, was among the recommendations of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
That restriction was approved by the coronavirus Interagency Task Force (IATF) as among the rules governing areas under GCQ.
Cebu province was poised to override that ban when Governor Garcia said she signed Thursday an executive order giving a green light to the backriding of one passenger for private motorcycles. Like in most provinces, backriding in motorcyles is a staple mode of transportation in Cebu.
Garcia's executive order was all for naught after the president's Friday address.
Duterte said allowing only Cebu to resume backriding for private motorcycles would be a "discriminatory" move against other local government units.
He also said that if he allowed Cebu province, he would open himself to possible graft charges. "That's one, I go to prison. Second, it's discriminatory. If at all and discretion ko is used to excuse one from the burden of the law that is placed on others," he said.
"But law is the law… wala akong magawa (I cannot do anything). It’s not my discretion. Just because I'm president does not mean I'll just ignore the laws of the land," he added.
Garcia said she deferred to the decision of the president and retracted Executive Order 19.
"Gipili man na siya sa tanan. Siya sad na akong presidente mao na nga motuman ko ug unsa iyang gusto. Motuman ko sa desisyon sa atong Presidente," Garcia said in her live video yesterday.
(He was chosen by everyone. He was also my president that's why I'll follow what he wants. I will follow the decision of our president.)
The governor said she only made the request to allow backriders in motorcycles upon the request of Cebuanos
"Ang akong request, dili ni alang kanako nga akong hangyo. Actually, ako lang ang nahimong conduit sa… milyon-miyon nga Sugboanon ngabilabihan gyud intawn na inconvenience ani," she said.
("My request is, this is not for me. Actually, I just became a conduit for the millions of Cebuanos who have been inconvenienced so much by this.)
Cebu Province is under GCQ which permits the operation of some non-essential business establishments.
Garcia said Cebu province would continue appealing to the IATF. "Padayon atong paghangyo," Garcia said. (We'll continue to try to ask him again)
Meanwhile, the province's 7 district congressmen came out with a manifesto of unity reiterating their support for the governor.
Cebu 3rd District Representative Pablo John "PJ" Garcia, youngest brother of the governor, said they respected the governor's decision. Another congressman, Cebu 5th District Representative Duke Frasco is Governor Garcia's son-in-law. – Rappler.com