Roque takes back statement on bikes with sidecars
Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group to stop apprehending motorcycle riders plying national highways who violated quarantine measures.
STAR/Michael Varcas/File
Roque takes back statement on bikes with sidecars
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. yesterday backpedalled on his statement that motorcycles with sidecars had been allowed on national highways.

Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año ordered the Philippine National Police-Highway Patrol Group to stop apprehending motorcycle riders plying national highways who violated quarantine measures.

“Regarding the issue of tricycles, Interior and Local Government Sec. Eduardo Año clarified that although apprehension by the Highway Patrol Group is temporarily suspended, such are still prohibited from plying the national highways,” Roque said last night.

Roque reversed his statement issued on Friday that motorcycles with sidecars are allowed on national highways.

Earlier in the day, Roque said the government adjusted the rules on the use of motorcycles after Año sought to address concerns on why back-riding is banned under community quarantine.

“There is a new policy that allows sidecars on national highways. This will address the lack of transportation during GCQ and MGCQ in many areas,” Roque said, referring to the policy of banning back-riding during general community quarantine and modified GCQ protocols.

Roque explained again why a married couple could not be allowed to ride together on a motorcycle when going to work or running errands for the household.

“Just like the explanation of Secretary Año, couples still mingle with others if they go out, so there is a risk that they may get infected. That is the reason why there is a ban on back-ride,” he said. Roque stressed the need to observe social distancing even among married couples.

Pressed for solutions to the lack of public transportation and the limitations due to the implementation of minimum health standards, Año said motorcycle owners could attach sidecars to their units so they can travel together with their partners.

Año said the government could open up certain routes to allow tricycles, which operations are subject to franchises issued by the local government units.

Network of bicycle lanes

Senators have expressed support for the “Safe Pathways Act,” a measure being pushed by Sen. Pia Cayetano that seeks to establish a network of bicycle lanes throughout the country.

Cayetano, chair of the Senate committee on sustainable development goals, sponsored Senate Bill 1582 or the Safe Pathways Act in time for the celebration of the World Bicycle Day on Wednesday.

She sought the creation of a network of protected bicycle lanes and walkways for frontliners and essential workers.

She said now is the best time to push for the passage of a measure that promotes sustainable transportation as the country pushes through the “new normal” due to the pandemic.

“Our own healthcare workers and frontliners have turned to more resilient and safer alternatives like biking and walking,” the senator said in her sponsorship speech, adding that cities around the world have already set up bike lanes to facilitate people’s mobility during the crisis.

Meanwhile, Sen. Grace Poe assured bikers of funds for the establishment of protected bicycle lanes and sidewalks.

The Senate allocated P17 billion for programs of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to assist critically impacted sectors in the transportation industry.

Poe said the amount would not only provide temporary livelihood to displaced workers through service contracting of public utility vehicles, but would also enable establishment of protected bicycle lanes and safe pathways.

“Our bikers must no longer risk life and limb as they exert patient legwork in traversing our roads,” Poe said in Filipino. Cecille Suerte Felipe

EDUARDO AñO
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