MinDA’s Piñol to IATF: suspend motorcycle barrier rule

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 25 July) — The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA) has asked the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID-19 to suspend its policy requiring barriers for people riding motorcycles in tandem is “impractical, expensive and oppressive, and discriminatory.”

Deadline for installing barriers is on July 26.

In a July 23 memorandum addressed to IATF chair Health Secretary Francisco Duque and co-chairs Karlo Alexei Nograles and Roy Cimatu,  Secretary Emmanuel Piñol, MinDA Chair, said that in Mindanao, the barrier will be an “added financial burden on poor families whose only means of movement is the motorcycle.”

Piñol said it is impractical because “it does not serve its intended purpose of protectin the motorcycle rider from any supposed transmission of infectious disease” but will even be a “present danger ot both the rider and the backrider since it would be difficult for them to adjust with a contraption in between them.”

“This could lead to an increase in the number of vehicular accidents since it would be difficult for the rider to maneuver the motorcycle,” he said.

MAKESHIFT BARRIER. Couple uses a makeshift barrier which the government says is not complaint with the requirement for backriding. MinDA chair Secretary Emmanuel Pinol wants the Inter-Agency Task Force to suspend the rule on installing motorcycle barriers as it is impractical, expensive and oppressive and discriminatory. MINDANEWS PHOTO

He said it is expensive and oppressive and will be an added financial burden “on poor families who use motorcyles for livelihood and transport.” The excessive fines for violators, he said, “could open a new window for corruption.”

Piñol explained that the policy is discriminatory because “the concern on the possible transmission of COVID 19 virus between two people traveling together is only focused on motorcycle riding but ignores the fact that those traveling inside air-conditioned private cars face greater risks.”

“I consider myself a field operative heading an agency which is well-grounded thus it is my duty to provide feedbacks to our policy makers,” said Piñol who used the hashtags #GovernanceIsCommonSense! and #touchgroundfeelthepulse! on his Facebok post on his memo.

“The Motorcycle Barrier Policy is an added financial burden which will affect efforts to restart the economy in Mindanao, as well as in other rural areas of the country where the motorcycle is the main vehicle for transport and livelihood,” he said.

On Thursday, the Philippine Society of Mechanical Engineers (PSME) warned that the motorcycle barrier “may contribute negatively to safety, health, economy and environment.”

It explained in a position paper that the barrier will “contribute to the change of the designed allowable aerodynamic forces (drag and lift), which will compromise the stability of the motorcycle” and “place the safety of the riders at risk.”  (MindaNews)