Over 1,000 motorcycle riders violate use of pillion for couples on first day of enforcement - Task force
The Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield on Sunday said over 1,000 motorcycle riders were apprehended during the first day of strict implementation of the use of pillion for couples.
Of the total 1,350 violators, the Philippine National Police said 704 motorcycle riders failed to install barriers while having their spouses or live-in partners as back riders; 580 did not also comply while having back riders other than their spouses or live-in partners; and 66 for installing barriers but back riders were neither their spouse nor their live-in partner.
Most of the violators were accosted by the PNP Highway Patrol Group with 284, followed by the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 with 187, PRO 5 with 158, PRO 9 with 129, and PRO 12 with 120.
Violators being taken to the police stations were due to various reasons that include being disrespectful to the apprehending authorities or due to existing local ordinances that require violators to be taken to the police stations to arrange for a community service as a penalty.
Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, JTF commander, warned that the defiance of some motorcycle riders would be met with appropriate sanctions based on the guidelines approved by the PNP, in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
“When our motorcycle riders repeatedly pleaded for them to be allowed to back ride at least their spouses or live-in partners, the National Task Force Against COVID-19 listened to their appeal. What the NTF Against COVID-19 was asking in return is for them to install the approved barriers because it is integral for their protection and safety against coronavirus infection,” Eleazar said.
He said the NTF approved the motorcycle pillion riding on July 10 under the condition that there must be a barrier and that pillion riding must be limited to married and live-in partners.
The deadline to install motorcycle barriers was on July 31 while the full implementation of the motorcycle pillion riding rules started on August 1.
“As per Secretary of the Interior and Local Government Eduardo Año, we are not requiring all motorcycle riders to install barriers. But if they are going to use their motorcycles for back riding, then they should follow the rules,” Eleazar said.
“The deadline for them to comply was extended twice and they were given a total of 22 days to install the prescribed barriers, we believe that it is more than enough time to do what is asked from them,” he added.
During the three-week grace period from July 10 to 31, more than 30,000 motorcycle riders were accosted in various parts of the country for having back riders other than their spouses or live-in partners.
Based on the guideline issued by the PNP, back riding married and living-in partners without the required barrier, not wearing face masks and not wearing helmets fall under reckless driving with penalties ranging from P1,000 to P10,000 depending on the number of the same offense committed.
For non-married or not live-in partners, the violation would fall under overloading of passengers with a penalty of P1,000.
Eleazar stressed the continuous defiance of some motorcycle riders in the coming days would only compromise the NTF Against COVID-19's plan to eventually allow more people other than married couples and live-in partners to back ride.
“The NTF Against COVID-19 is currently assessing the compliance of our motorcycle riders. We hope that the number of violators would significantly decrease in the coming days and until all of them eventually comply with the prevailing rules,” he said.
Some quarters have been complaining on the use of barriers, saying that these could hurt anyone in case of accident. There were also said that they did not see the point of installing a barrier on the motorcycle when at the end of the day, the couple would be sleeping together. Ella Dionisio/DMS