“What will we do with all those backriding shields that we don’t need now?”
This is the question being asked by riders after the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) decided that backriding shields won’t be needed anymore for pillion riding in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ)—provided that the rider and the passenger live in the same house. If they don’t, then the rider must use a backpack-style backriding shield similar to the one designed by Angkas, and the passenger must be an authorized person outside residence (APOR). The motorbike they’re on must also be privately owned.
Backriding shields cost around P500 to P1,200 each, depending on the material used.
The flip-flopping decisions by the authorities on this matter do not sit well with Ako Bicol pary-list representative Alfredo Garbin Jr. “Kailangang mabawi ng motorcycle riders ang kanilang ginastos para makabili at magpa-install ng motorcycle barriers,” he said in a statement. “Gumastos sila ng perang pambili sana ng pagkain at gamot. Hustisya.”
Here’s his suggestion: Oblige the government to acquire all those unneeded backriding shields, and in exchange, they can give the owners two options to reimburse the cost of these fixtures:
- Payment in kind for fees and penalties from the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB). This includes vehicle registrations, traffic penalties, driver’s license renewal fees, and so on; or,
- Groceries equivalent to the value of the backriding shield, to be retrieved from the Diskwento Caravan of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
Should the government acquires backriding shields from riders, Garbin suggested that these can redistribute to barangay tanods and police officers who can use them as protective shields. For one reason or another, he also believes that these motorcycle shields can also be converted into emergency stretchers.
Nevertheless, Garbin expressed his gratitude to the IATF for retracting the mandatory use of backriding shields for all riders. He also asked the government not to require the motorcycle-taxi riders to use the backriding shields, reasoning that these daily-wage earners “also deserve equal protection and enforcement of our country’s laws and regulations.”
Here’s a question: If this were to push through, would the government require a receipt for the purchase of the backriding shields before authorizing reimbursements?