Palace: Sidecars allowed in national highways, back riding still banned

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Malacañang announced Thursday motorcycles with sidecars are now allowed in national highways for areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ.

Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the move was to add more vehicles for commuters since jeepneys and back riding are still prohibited. 

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“Well nagkaroon na po ng bagong polisiya, pinapayagan na po ngayon ang mga sidecars sa national highways. Yan po ay para maibsan yung kakulangan ng transportasyon ngayong nag-GCQ na at MGCQ na sa maraming areas,” Roque said in an online briefing.

(Well, we have a new policy, sidecars are now allowed in national highways. This is to relieve the lack of transportation now that many areas are under GCQ and MGCQ.)

Roque clarified that local government units (LGUs) could not revoke the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases’ decision on banning back riding. 

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“Ang pagbabawal po sa back ride ay applicable sa GCQ at MGCQ at ito po ay kabahagi ng isang IATF resolution. Hindi po pupuwedeng magbigay ng awtorisasyon ang mga mayor. Kinakailangan sundin pa din po yung pagbabawal sa backride,” Roque said.

(The ban on the back ride applies to GCQ and MGCQ areas, and this is part of the IATF resolution. Mayors cannot give the authorization to allow this. Prohibiting back riding should be followed.)

Several LGUs earlier requested the IATF to allow family members to back ride on motorcycles amid the lack of public transport.

Also read: Police jail six jeepney drivers who protested in Caloocan

Department of Transportation (DOTr) divided the gradual resumption of public transportation into two phases.

Phase 1 (covering June 1 to 21)

  • Trains and bus augmentation, taxis, TNVS, shuttle services, Point-to-Point buses, and bicycles will be allowed to operate, with LIMITED PASSENGER CAPACITY.
  • Tricycles will also be allowed, subject to the prior approval of the concerned LGU.
  • NO provincial buses will be allowed to enter Metro Manila.

Phase 2 (covering June 22 to 30)

Public Utility Buses (PUBs), Modern PUVs, and UV Express will already be allowed to operate, also with limited passenger capacity, along with the initial set of transport modes that were allowed to operate during Phase 1.

Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) General Manager Jose Arturo Garcia meanwhile blamed commuters for the transportation chaos. He said passengers “seemed to have lost focus” that COVID-19 was still out there and that it could spread further with the easing of public transportation restrictions. 

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