Despite warning, Gwen to go on with plan to allow backriding in motorcycles
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia on Thursday, June 4, stood by with her decision to allow backriding on privately-owned motorcycles in the province.
This despite a warning from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) that doing so can hold her ‘criminally and administratively’ liable for not following orders from the national government’s anti-coronavirus task force.
DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, in a live interview from Mugstoria on Thursday, cautioned public officials, who were planning to implement ordinances that would run contrary to the guidelines of the Inter-Agency Task Force for Management on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID).
Densing referred to the plans of Garcia to issue an executive order (EO) allowing owners of private motorcycles to have a family member as their passenger.
“I would suggest the good governor in Cebu not to enact or implement the executive order because if she does, then that will actually happen in Cebu, I have no choice but to send her a show-cause order,” Densing said in the interview that was broadcasted on Facebook Live.
Densing added that lifting the ban of motorcycle backriding even among relatives would be a violation of the Bayanihan-to-Heal-as-One Act.
“Because (doing so) is a violation of the IATF guideline… (We ask them not to push through) otherwise, they can be held criminally and administratively liable… There’s a science behind it (the ban of motorcycle backriding),” he said.
In response, Garcia said she was ready to face any consequences on her plans, and that she would push through with issuance of the EO.
“Tungod kaninyo, barugan ko kini. Duna nay naghulga nga i-suspenso kuno ko kay wa ko musunod niya. Ako, ihangad ko ni sa Diyos nga makakagahom ug ang akong pagsalig sa balaod,” said Garcia during her regular live press conferences.
(I will stand by with my decision for everyone. Even if I received threats that I will be suspended because I did not follow the orders. I’ll just rest my case to the Almighty God and my trust in our existing laws.)
She said she was also intent on having a provincial ordinance in support of the future EO.
Not allowing backriding runs contrary to RA 4136
Garcia said the Capitol was confident that they would not be violating any existing laws when they crafted the EO seeking to lift the ban on motorcycle backrides.
“Gitun-an namo na ug ayo, gibali-bali na namo ang balaod. Dili gyud prohibited ang pag-backride,” she said.
(We studied this thoroughly. We reviewed the laws. But backriding is never prohibited.)
According to the governor, disallowing backriding passengers who are related to the driver up to the ‘fourth civil-degree of consanguinity or affinity’ will run contrary to the Transportation Code of the Philippines (Republic Act No. 4136).
Garcia also said there was no IATF resolution explicitly prohibiting backrides on motorcycles, and that such directives were adopted through a memorandum circular from the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
“Kanang RA 4136, mao na ang Transportation Code kung diin gitagsa-tagsa ang gitugtan nga transportasyon. Kung diin sad, gitugtan ang motorsiklo ug ang backride,” Garcia said.
(RA 4136 is the Transportation Code which enumerated the types of transportation allowed. It also allowed backriding on motorcycles.)
“Dunay pronouncement nga kuno dili na tugtan. Apan usa ka pronouncement, lahi na ug balaod nga gipasar sa Kongreso. Gani, muingon nga IATF resolution apan, way IATF resolution nga nagbawal niining backride,” she added.
(There’s a pronouncement that backriding will not be allowed. But this announcement is completely different from the law passed by Congress. In fact, they said there’s an IATF resolution, but there’s no IATF resolution disallowing backrides.)
The governor reiterated that what was found in her drafted EO was in compliance with the Transportation Code of the Philippines.
“Our EO was in conformity of RA 4136… A memorandum circular (from LTO) cannot supersede a national law,” said Garcia.
The governor said the Capitol’s plans to lift the ban of motorcycle backriding stemmed from the public’s clamor to use motorcycles on transporting passengers as they faced a lack of public transportation under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
Aside from that, the governor also got the support of seven congressmen in Cebu Island and they expressed their support in a manifesto they issued today, June 4. /dbs
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