Following President Duterte’s official reinstatement of Metro Manila and its neighboring provinces back to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ), MMDA made an official statement on its Facebook page allowing motorcycle back-riding to authorized persons outside of residence (APOR) for as long as certain conditions are met. To be allowed to back-ride, it is no longer necessary for the driver and passenger to be related for as long as the APOR is doing work-related travel, the prescribed motorcycle barrier is used, and that the motorcycle being used is privately owned and not for hire.
It should be noted that the motorcycle barrier to be allowed to back-ride was first presented by Governors Arthur Yap of Bohol and Arthur Defensor Jr. or Iloilo to the IATF earlier last month. The proposed motorcycle barrier was seen as a solution to allow motorcycle back-riding without violating social distancing protocols. Similar designs were adopted by motorcycle ride-sharing providers Angkas and Joyride with the barriers being worn and attached to the driver instead of the motorcycle itself.
However, now that MECQ has been reimposed by the government, public transportation is completely suspended which includes the MRT, busses, jeepneys, taxis, and ride-sharing services. Alternative modes of transportation are highly encouraged during MECQ which includes bicycles, motorcycles, and other personal mobility devices like e-scooters. With the limited availability of public transportation around Metro Manila during MECQ, pillion riding was a subject of heated debate when the government first imposed the nationwide lockdowns during the onset of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
MMDA’s announcement of allowing back-riding for authorized persons doing work-related travel should be seen as a welcomed measure by the general public. They now see more value in two-wheel mobility as a safe way of traveling especially now that COVID-19 cases in the country still continue to rise.