Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo sent a letter appeal to the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and National Task Force COVID-19 to reconsider the requirement for couples to install shields/ barriers in their motorcycles for backriders.
Mayor Remollo states that the policy is unsafe and costly for motorcycle riders.
He noted that “Dumaguete is the leading city with the most number of motorcycle-riding individuals. Every household has at least one (1) motorcycle as the people’s basic private vehicle.”
Furthermore, Mayor Remollo pointed that the first recorded COVID cases in Dumaguete were caused by two (2) Chinese nationals (tourists) from Wuhan in the 3rd week of January 2020. But no local transmission was recorded.
In his letter to Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III,Cabinet Secretary Karlo Alexei B. Nograles and Secretary Leonor M. Briones of the National Inter-Agency Task Force MEID and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año of the National Task Force COVID 19, Mayor Remollo enumerated the considerations for his appeal:
1) Despite the widespread practice of back riding in Dumaguete, we are still able to maintain ZERO local transmission of the COVID-19 virus. But, we strictly impose the use of helmets, facemasks or face shields on motorcycle users.
2) The IATF approved prototype barrier is a modification on the motorcycle which affects the aero-dynamism and SAFETY of these motorcycles. If mufflers are regulated so must the use of these barriers.
3) The prototype barrier adopted by IATF is an added expense/burden to the already financially beleaguered population.
4) If frontliners are able to protect themselves from known COVID patients through the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), why not allow the backriders to use similar protection like coveralls with masks and helmets? Or perhaps consider the use of acetates wrapped around the body of either the driver of motorcycle or the backrider as added protection in lieu of IATF recommended barriers.
As such, requiring that riders must be husband and wife would no longer be relevant.
5) To prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus, we are guided by 3 universal health protocols like wearing of face masks, physical distancing and frequent washing.
Finally, Mayor Remollo asks the IATF and NTF to trust the Local Government Units to innovate for the best interest of their constituents.