The Puerto Princesa City Police Office (PPCPO) and the Anti-Crime Task Force (ACTF) have issued conflicting statements on the implementation of motorcycle barriers for pillion (back) riding.
ACTF and City Traffic Management Office (CTMO) head Richard Ligad said that wearing helmets and face masks are enough to observe social distancing measures, but PPCPO city director Sergio Vivar, Jr. said that they will be strictly penalizing those who do not install barriers.
Palawan News spoke to Ligad and Vivar separately on July 31 to determine how Puerto Princesa City will be implementing the mandatory motorcycle barrier.
Ligad said that because the IATF guidelines are unclear, the city will not be strictly imposing penalties on those who do not use the barrier.
“Wala naman, hintayin muna natin ‘yong guidelines kung papaano kukuha ng approved IATF na barrier dito. Kung ano ang penalty sa mga walang barrier, ‘di ba malabo, kaya hindi pa tayo pwedeng mag-implement ng wala pang linaw. Ano ang magiging penalty mo? Ano magiging sanctions mo sa hindi naka-barrier?” he said.
He further stated that helmets and face masks are enough to curb the spread of COVID-19 and that the city does not even have as many COVID cases as other urban areas.
“Tapos ‘yong nasa IATF, wala naman sa sinabi nila na ito ang design. Papaano kapag hindi umobra yong ibang gawa gawa lang maaksidente? Sino ang hahabulin natin? Kaya ang maigi hindi na muna tayo masyadong maghihigpit ang importante, nakahelmet, nakaface mask yong angkas o naka helmet, naka face shields, naka gloves ayos na ‘yon,” he added. “Iba kasi ang sitwasyon dito sa atin e, hindi katulad sa Manila. Ang sitwasyon sa atin hindi naman ganoon kalala ang COVID na bawat kanto may pinangangambahan dito sa atin hindi ganoon karami.”
PPCPO city director Vivar, however, said that the city police will have to comply with the given guidelines, and will be penalizing those who do not follow the guidelines.
“Oo natapos na rin ang palugit, so sundin natin bukas,” he said. “Wala na [hindi na magwa-warning] matagal na ‘yan e. Kung magpapa-angkas ka ng hindi mo asawa at wala pang barrier, dalawa na ang violation. Nag-angkas ka at wala pang barrier, patong patong na ‘yon, ganoon na lang ang gagawin natin kasi para ma-instill natin sa mga tao na ito yong ipinatutupad nating batas e, sumunod tayo.”
“Hindi naman namin pwedeng baliwalain yong utos ng DILG, sabihin nalang natin sa mga mamamayan na mag-aangkas sila pero may karampatan silang risk,” he added.
The grace period for the installation of motorcycle barriers ended yesterday, July 31, as the national IATF released a list of penalties and fines for those who fail to follow the new set of quarantine guidelines released on the same day.
Failure to install a motorcycle barrier now falls under “Reckless Driving,” together with failure to wear a face mask while driving or riding, and pillion riding with someone who is not a spouse or a common-law partner. Penalties range from P1,500 to 10,000. Even spouses and partners who pillion ride must still install a barrier.