Duterte rejects Cebu request for backriders on motorcycles
President Rodrigo Duterte on Friday said he could not allow Cebu government’s request to allow back-riding on motorcycles in the province.
In a televised message in Davao City aired on Friday morning, Duterte said allowing Cebu's request means he will open himself to charges.
"As much as I would like to accommodate Governor (Gwendolyn) Garcia and the board members, here's what I can say. If I begin to give an exemption to one, which (I cannot) because I will open myself to charges of anti-graft law giving another an undue advantage,” Duterte said.
“If I give you an exemption, the others will follow. Maybe they will not file a case but other, not from the government, may want to just test the capacity of a president of breaking the law,” he said.
According to Garcia, motorcycles within the province may transport passengers or “back riders” provided they carry only one passenger per trip, and that no fee is charged.
She also said Cebu's seven congressmen expressed support.
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said he understands the hardship of commuting during the general community quarantine but he said physical distancing is part of the Department of Health’s standard.
Año said the situation will not last forever and it will be allowed once they recorded zero COVID-19 cases.
“It is really hard but we are talking about health (here). Not the convenience, or if they will spend less but we are talking about life,” he said.
“Right now, our stand with DOH remains that while we have not yet (reached) zero (on) the cases, we will implement that,” he added.
Last night, DILG said tricycles and pedicabs remain banned on national highways in all general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) areas.
LGUs areregulating the operation of tricycles and pedicabs in secondary roads.
Año reiterated the pronouncement of Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque that mayors may not give authorization in allowing back rides in GCQ and MGCQ localities in line with the directive of the IATF.
The DILG said for those who were allowed to operate on secondary roads, tricycle drivers must wear face masks or face shields, gloves, and allow only one passenger per trip in observance of physical distancing except during a medical emergency.
In Memorandum Circular 2020-083, it reminded LGUs that all forms of public transport vehicles, terminals, and facilities should be regularly disinfected and social distancing measures as prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the IATF must be implemented.
To enable distancing, all public utility vehicles (PUVs) and private vehicles shall only ferry at most 50 percent of their seating capacity and still observe physical distancing inside the PUV and the terminal, to include queuing for boarding the vehicle and upon entering the terminal premises. Ella Dionisio/DMS