Palawan residents expressed frustration over the rules and requirements for motorcycle pillion riding (back riding) set by the national government.
Pillion riding is only allowed for married and common-law couples who need to provide proof that they are indeed married or living under one household. Also, they are still required to put up a barrier between the driver and the rider.
Various residents spoke to the Palawan News about their reactions to the various restrictions and requirements on back riding. Residents voiced out frustration and confusion over the requirements maintained by the national government.
One Puerto Princesa resident lamented that the requirements for common-law couples is unrealistic. She added that putting up barriers on motorcycles is dangerous as well.
“Mga driver’s license namin, parehong naka-address pa sa mga munisipyo dahil kaka-move in lang namin. Minsan iniisip namin ng partner ko, magdala na lang ng picture naming dalawa sa loob ng bahay namin bilang pruweba na magkasama nga kami,” said Kristine Cayao, a resident of Barangay Mandaragat. “At delikado pa ang pino-propose na barrier para sa mga nagmo-motor. Halatang hindi nagmo-motor ang kahit sinuman sa gobyerno.”
Another city resident said while he is glad that the prohibition was lifted since having to restrict couples from pillion riding was useless anyway.
“Okay lang naman mas maganda nga ‘yon [na pinagayan] kasi mas convenient at useless ‘yong pag prohibit sa mag angkas sa mag asawa kung sa bahay naman ay magkasama din sila,” Aron Magdayao, another motorcycle-dependent in Puerto Princesa City said.
Another resident lamented that she and her partner were only in their early stages of courtship, and thus were excluded from the pillion riding condition.
“Ang hirap minsan kasi lalabas kami pero nakakalimutan namin na bawal pala ang angkas kaya nagco-commute ako sya naman ang nakamotor. Medyo hassle sa part na ‘yon like maghihintayan kayo sa isang place tapos maraming tao,” said Hanna Cruz, referring to her suitor.
A city resident also lamented on the national government’s inability to utilize other obvious solutions, such as using face masks or shields.
“Kung may mga additional na recommendation ang DILG, gaya ng paglagay ng divider na dahil mag-asawa naman din, pag dating sa bahay magkatabi din, ‘di ko nakikita yung pakinabang noon. Pwede na rin namang gumamit ng faceshield ang angkas. Bakit kailangan may ganoon pa,” said Junifred delos Santos, a resident of Barangay San Pedro. “Parang makikita lang talaga, na hindi talaga masyadong pinag-aralan ang decision ipatupad, kaya ang daming pabago-bago. Hirap kapag puro band-aid solutions lang, kailangan ng tao yung matalinong alternatibo o solid na solusyon tungkol sa ganyang issue.”
One resident from the municipalities said that the government is misplacing its priorities and making regulations that only burden the common folk.
“There is time for reckoning. Nakakalungkot lang na isipin na kung sino pa ang iniisip natin na makakatulong dahil sila ang nasa posisyon, sila pa rin ang makaka-isip ng dagdag pahirap sa masa,” said Divina Jacobsen, a businesswoman from El Nido.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque reiterated in a virtual presser July 13 that pillion riding is allowed only for married couples, common-law couples, and live-in couples.
“Sa issue ng backriding, inuulit namin na it is strictly for husband and wives, common-law couples, and live-in partners. Sa mga kasal, magdala dapat kayo ng pruwebo na kayo ay kasal. Sa mga live-in at common-law relationships, magdala kayo ng ID na pinapakita na pareho ang inyong mga address,” said Roque.
Roque added that couples must also use barriers whose designs are approved by the National Task Force (NTF) for COVID-19. Two designs have already been approved for usage.
(With reports from Patricia Laririt, Aira Genesa Magdayao, and Bella Mutia)