Netizens expressed dismay over the new back-riding policy released by the Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield for areas under General Community Quarantine on Tuesday night.

According to the policy, motorcycle barriers are no longer required for riders and back-riders who are living in the same residence starting Aug. 19. 

JTF commander Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Eleazar, however, clarified that barriers are still required for those who are not living in the same house. 

“The barrier to common sense has finally been lifted,” Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said in a statement in reaction to the new policy on motorcycle barriers. 

“No IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease) rule triggered the greatest resistance and launched the most jokes. And the fact that they stonewalled for a long time and stubbornly defended it, despite evidence to the contrary, inflicted damage on their reputation,” he added. 

Recto also said that the Angkas-designed motorcycle barriers should not be patented.

“No monopoly on sale and production. Let the specs be given to the public for free,” he said.

After the announcement, some netizens demanded the government to reimburse the money used to purchase the safety barrier, following the previous national government directive. 

Ako Bicol Partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin urged the government to acquire the barriers bought by riders to help them recover the cost they paid for to purchase and install the safety equipment. 

“Kailangang mabawi ng motorcycle riders ang kanilang ginastos para makabili at magpa-install ng motorcycle barriers. Gumastos sila ng perang pambili sana ng pagkain at gamot,” Garbin said in a statement. 

I hope the national government can acquire all of those contraptions and in exchange they can give the motorcycle riders any of these options depending on what the government can afford,” he added.

The lawmaker suggested to deduct the amount paid for the barrier from vehicle registration and driver’s license application fees, or fines for traffic violation 

Garbin also suggested providing riders with groceries equivalent to the amount of each barrier when exchanged with the Department of Trade and Industry Diskwento Caravan. Jayziel Khim Budino