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Poe appeals to gov’t to allow ‘family back-riding’ on motorcycles

Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday said the government should allow motorcycle "back-riding" among family members to reduce the number of commuters in distress due to limited transportation options amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Nakakapanlumo na makita ang magkapamilya na sa pagpasok sa trabaho, 'yung isa ay nasa motorsiklo at 'yung isa ay naglalakad dahil bawal ang angkas," Poe, chair of the Senate committee on public services, said in a statement.

She added that commuters tend to crowd loading areas during rush hours even though buses and modern jeepneys are already allowed to operate.

Not all routes are covered by these public utility vehicles and many workers have no choice but to walk from major highways to their destinations and vice versa, Poe said.

On Saturday, the Palace said back-riding has already been approved in principle but that the public will have to wait for guidelines from the National Task Force against COVID-19.

Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan also appealed to the government to allow traditional jeepneys and UV express units to service the riding public.

"Araw-araw na kalbaryo ang nangyayari. Kapag pinayagan nang bumalik sa kalye ang jeepney at UV express, dalawang problema ang agad masosolusyonan: sasakyan para sa commuters at trabaho para sa jeepney at UV express drivers," he said in a separate statement.

"Pwede naman maipatupad ang mga health and safety protocols gaya ng physical distancing at regular disinfection sa mga tradisyunal na jeepney at UV express," he added.

In Metro Manila, which is under a general community quarantine, modern jeepneys were allowed to return to roads at 50% capacity on Monday.

Buses and train lines in the region have also resumed operations with reduced passenger loads.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board is still crafting guidelines for the resumption of operations of traditional jeepneys and UV express, according to Department of Transportation consultant Alberto Suansing.

In the meantime, some traditional jeepney drivers were left with no choice but to resort to begging due to lack of income. — BM, GMA News