Amid apprehensions on putting barriers in motorcycles, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año on Friday defended the government’s prototype shield, noting that the safety really depends on the driver of the motorcycle.
"'Yung regarding naman kasi sa accident-prone, both sides 'yan eh, both ways 'yan, kahit naman walang shield o walang barrier, katakot-takot 'yung aksidente ng motor. Nasa driver talaga 'yan," Año told GMA News' Unang Balita.
"Baka nga lalong mas magiging maingat 'yung driver kung may barrier sa likod niya eh, nasanay kasi 'yung mga motorista... sino ba 'yung may gustong maglagay ng modification, kaya lang iba rin 'yung sitwasyon ngayon eh," he added.
On Thursday, Año announced that back-riding on motorcycles is now allowed among couples and partners with the same residence.
He said the public must follow the proper protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force such as the installation of protective barriers in the motorcycle.
According to Año, riders and passengers must also wear face masks for their protection.
Despite this development, motoring expert Aris Ilagan expressed reservations with the said prototype. He noted the shield could affect the aerodynamics of the motorcycle and pose safety risks, especially if there are strong winds.
“Itutulak ka ng motor papuntang bangketa, ‘di mo alam bakit. Mararamdaman mo pumapalag ‘yung motor sa hangin,” Ilagan said.
At the Laging Handa press briefing, DILG spokesman Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the design was checked by experts.
"Maging ang Land Transportation Office ay sumusuporta po sa paglalagay ng physical barriers. So we do not see this as a possible safety concern. Kailangan lang pong magingat ang ating mga kababayan pag sila ay gumagamit ng motorsiklo," Malaya said.
Año said the government is still accepting proposals on the design of barriers that could be used by motorcycle riders. He said concerned agencies are reviewing the design submitted by George Royeca, chief transport advocate of Angkas.
"'Yung vest ng driver nakakabit doon sa likod niya 'yung shield o barrier. Ginagamit na ito sa Indonesia pero si Mr. Royeca, dinagdagan pa niya ng handle sa likod. Once ma-approve ito, puwede rin ito..." he said.
Meanwhile, Año advised the public to wait if back-riding among relatives, and not just couples and partners, would already be allowed.
"Unti-unti ba, hinay-hinay lang... darating din siguro tayo diyan pagka siguro gumaganda na 'yung numero sa cases natin," he said.—AOL/RSJ, GMA News