Davao City to allow ‘angkas’

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 7 July) – As locals demand more options for public transportation, the city government of Davao will soon allow motorcycle back-riding months after it was prohibited to control the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Back-riding (“angkas”) in Davao City during COVID-19. MindaNews file photo by MANMAN DEJETO

Mayor Sara Duterte said during her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday that she asked for guidelines from the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease on back-riding or “angkas” weeks after the task force announced it would allow back-riding once the guidelines have been crafted.

The IATF’s Resolution 47 released last June 19 provides that a technical working group – which included the Department of Transportation, Department of Health, and Department of Trade and Industry – was “directed to convene and determine the safest and most effective manner to reduce the rate of transmission in back-riding in motorcycles.”

Duterte said the city government would follow what the provincial government of Bohol did, writing IATF a letter to ask for guidelines, and would resume motorcycle back-riding if it does not respond within a week.

“I have just talked with the governor of Bohol (Gov. Arthur Yap). We have areas in the Philippines where motorcycles are the primary mode of transportation unlike here where we have jeepneys and tricycles. Their households and families have motorcycles but they do not have four-wheel vehicles,” she said.

She said the province of Bohol would be requiring motorcycle owners to comply with some “engineering interventions” to avoid the spread of COVID-19 infection.

Duterte said the city government of Davao would announce once it decides to allow motorcycle back-riding.

“We will do the same in Davao. We will request, and if they do not come back to us within one week, regardless if the answer is ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ then we will proceed with resumption of back-ride,” she said.

The mayor added that the local government would draft its own guidelines in lieu of the IATF guidelines.

“We will announce what we will need to do to resume. We will send [Monday] the letter and then within one week, if there is still no response, we will give our own local guidelines for ‘angkas’ because until now we still have no guidelines from the NTF [national task force] for ‘angkas,” she said.

As of July 7, Department of Health-Davao reported a total of 614 cases, with 33 deaths and 399 recoveries in the region.

Of the total cases, 463 are in Davao City, 57 in Davao del Norte, 25 in Davao del Sur, 33 in Davao de Oro, 32 in Davao Oriental, and four in Davao Occidental. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)