Some Filipinos are asking “reimbursement” of their expenses on motorcycle barriers after the Joint Task Force COVID Shield announced that it is no longer required for people living in the same house under the general community quarantine.
Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, commander of the Joint Task Force COVID Shield, reportedly said that the National Task Force Against COVID-19 has approved new policies for motorcycle backriding under GCQ.
Under the new rules, people who live in the same household are no longer required to use motorcycle barriers but it only applies to areas under GCQ.
Areas under GCQ include Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Batangas, Nueva Ecija, Cavite, Quezon Province, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu City, Mandaue City, Talisay City and the municipalities of Consolacion and Minglanilla.
Riders who are not living under the same household must still use barrier, specifically the Angkas-designed.
The new guidelines also state that backriders must be considered authorized persons outside residences (APOR) but the motorcycle driver may or may not be an APOR.
The motorcycle must also be privately owned and not used as a “for hire” service.
All riders are also required to wear face masks and full face helmets during the ride.
After the announcement of the new motorcycle protocols, the local online community shared their concerns about those who already purchased barriers because of the previous national government directive.
A Twitter user claimed how her workmates had to “immediately purchase barriers for P600” during the modified enhanced community quarantine.
“Para lang mahatid mula Bulacan to QC (Quezon City)! After 2 wks, ‘di na pala needed bigla, sobrang thank you,” she wrote with sarcasm.
“Reimbursement din sana ng mga gumastos para sa kalokohan niyo,” another Twitter user wrote in response to the announcement.
“Sinayang niyo lang pera nung mga nakabili na, imbes na pambili ng pagkain nila,” commented another online user.
A radio broadcaster also expressed his frustration over the change of policy as he claimed that people living in same households were required to spend “P500 to P1,000” for a motorcycle barrier before.
“Wala na ngang ayudang nakuha, pinagastos pa. Ngayon babawiin?! Paki-bigwasan nga ang pinagmulan ng ideya. Anak ng kamote!” Joel Reyes Zobel tweeted.
Last month, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases allowed pillion riding but it was only for couples in GCQ and modified GCQ areas.
Cavite Gov. Jonvic Remulla disapproved the motorcycle barrier policy and said that it was “dangerous” to both the driver and the passenger.
He added that face masks and full face helmets should be enough to serve as protection for possible coronavirus transmission.
The Motorcycle Philippines Federation likewise said that barriers in motorcycles may affect the aerodynamics involved in riding two-wheeled vehicles.
Another group which includes representatives from Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha also warned the public against the use of barriers and said that it “will negatively affect stability and handling of the motorcycle.”
“The proposed pillion shield will create significant wind resistance when the motorycle is in motion,” the Motorcycle Development Program Participants Association said in a statement.
The group said that unauthorized attachments like the barrier would compromise “years of careful planning, design and development carried out by teams of engineers to ensure the utmost safety of each unit.”