CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Two political figures here have asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order against the policy on the protective barrier on motorcycles.
In their seven-page petition, Councilor Reuben Daba and Walter Kiunisala, a former council member of Barangay 16, argued that putting up a barrier is impractical and poses risk to the riders.
“Motorcycle experts have already pointed out that not only is it unsafe and untested, it is also an unnecessary cost to the driver and rider,” said the petitioners.
The petition was submitted at the Regional Trial Court Branch 41 on Friday, August 7.
Daba and Kunisala reiterated the stand of those who opposed the policy, especially those who rely on motorcycles for transportation and livelihood.
The regulation crafted by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF), they said, is “anti-poor for it would be an added expense to the household as far as the daily commute is concerned plus having to shell out another expense to put up the barrier in compliance with the policy.”
The policy which took effect last Aug. 1 was meant to prevent the spread of the new Coronavirus disease.
But petitioners questioned the IATF’s decision arguing that if safety was the underlying reason for the latter’s insistence on the policy implementation, why then they allowed drivers of public utility jeepneys and other public utility vehicles to ply their routes when they take in multiple passengers.
They said there’s a greater chance that one would get infected in such a close or cramped space with passengers separated by thin, flimsy, and transparent sheets or acetate.
“There is also the issue of re-circulated air in air-conditioned public transport vehicles. While that of a motorcycle, there is only the spouse or partner that the driver comes into contact or interact with during the ride,” they noted.
Daba and Kunisala also said that installing a barrier between the riders (married or common-law couples) is not necessary since they live in the same household.
“There is actually no need to install it as couples are regularly exposed to each other anyway,” they said.
In the petition, they attached a copy of the July 27 city council resolution which urged the IATF to reconsider the mandatory installation of barrier in single motorcycles.
Lawyer James Judith, the petitioners’ legal counsel, said they are urging individuals and motorcycle groups who are affected by the said policy to take the same action in their respective areas.
“This is just the beginning. We hope others will follow suit. We started this to show that we can do something,” Judith said Saturday, Aug.8.(davaotoday.com)