Remulla asks IATF to allow couples on motorcycles

Cavite Governor Jonvic Remulla asked the Inter-Agency Task Force to slightly relax the policy on backriding to allow couples to travel together using a motorcyle.

In an open letter, Remulla said he agreed with the policy of the IATF against backriding, but asked for an exception for couples.

"Mabilis ang pagkalat ng COVID-19, at tama lamang na ipagbawal ang malapitang dikitan sa panahon ngayon. Hindi ko po tinutulan ang polisyang ito. Ito po ay tama lang. Ang nais ko po sanang idulog ay mapayagan ang backriding sa kaso ng mga mag-asawa at nagsasama," Remulla said.

(COVID-19 infection spreads fast and it is only right to prohibit close distance in these times. I am not against this policy. It is right. What I want to ask is if it is possible to allow backriding in the case of married couples and partners.)

Remulla said that many couples in households with a single motorcycle find it hard to go to work, even as public transportation is allowed under general community quarantine. There are no jeepneys, he said, and tricycles charge at a special rate due to physical distance measures. (GABAY: Bilang ng pasahero sa pampublikong sasakyan sa ilalim ng GCQ)

He added that factories and industrial locators have stopped providing shuttles when the province was placed under GCQ.

The Cavite governor made a comparison with private vehicles.

"Kung hinahayaan po natin silang sumakay sa de-aircon na kotse, bakit po hindi sila maaaring sumakay sa isang motorsiklo? Kung pareho sila ng kamang tinutulugan, bakit hindi sila puwedeng bumiyaheng magkasama sa loob man ito ng isang Toyota Vios o sakay ng Yamaha Mio?" asked Remulla, referring to the affordable motorcycle brand.

(If we are allowing couples to ride together in an airconditioned car, why are we not allowing them to ride on a motorcycle? If they sleep in the same bed, why can't we allow them to both ride a Toyota Vios or a Yamaha Mio?)

"Para sa marami, ang polisiyang ito lamang ang humahadlang para sila ay makabalik sa trabaho. (For many, this policy is the main hindrance for them getting back to work)," he added.

Remulla has been telling his constituents that he could not provide a "couples pass" for backriding – even as his social media account was flooded with requests for it. The national government has repeatedly said in the past that it's not allowed because it does not practice physical distancing.

The Cavite governor said in his open letter that the local government is open to issuing the coveted "couples pass" to ensure that only those who have marriage contracts will be allowed backriding.

"Sana po ay mapag-isipan ninyong muli ang polisiyang ito. Kung tayo po sa gobyerno ay hindi sila kayang alagaan ng husto sa gitna ng krisis na ito, siguro ay kaya nating bawasan man lang ang kanilang paghihirap sa pamamagitan ng pagpayag na sila ay maka-biyahe nang matiwasay at nang magkasama," Remulla said in closing.

(I hope that you can reconsider this policy. If we, in the government, cannot provide them with sufficient help during this crisis, maybe we can help alleviate their hardship by allowing them to travel safely together.)

IATF ruled that public transportation in GCQ areas must operate at 50% capacity. Backriding is not allowed for motorcycles.

Under the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board guidelines for public utility vehicles, special permits will have to be given to PUV drivers and operators for them to be allowed on the road.

LTFRB gives preference in this order: buses, modern jeepneys, and then traditional jeepneys.

As of Tuesday, May 19, LTFRB told Rappler that they are still in the process of finalizing the identified routes for jeepneys. Once it's done, special permit applications will start. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.

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