Bawal na ang habal habal

Negros Oriental – Until the COVID SCARE lasts, the uniquely Filipino Habal Habal, the motorbike that magically seats seven to the max, will temporarily be banned.  Mainly because it cannot maintain a social distance of 2 meters apart,and second, too close contacts with passengers is not good for our COVID-health.

The Negros Oriental Provincial Police Office (NOPPO) therefore,  has strictly implemented, Friday, March 27, the no back rider policy of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

In a press statement Wednesday, March 25, NOPPO Director P/Col. Julian Entoma appealed to the public to refrain from having back riders while the government is trying to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Entoma said even motorcycle for hire or habal-habal are “strictly prohibited to carry passengers during the period of Community Quarantine.”

He said no one is exempted from the order even those riders carrying members of their family and those being brought to work.

The police official encourage the public, especially those working, to look for ways on how they can go about their daily work routine despite the transportation setback.

Entoma suggests that workers negotiate with tricycles or pedicab drivers to fetch them to and from work.

Health workers or frontliners can also ask their respective Local Government Units (LGUs) to ferry them to work while the ban on motorcycle back riders stands.

Entoma, however, said they can also use their police vehicles to assist workers if LGUs would not cooperate. “If LGUs would not support (this policy) on social distancing, we will set schedules for our patrol cars to pick (workers) them up,” Entoma told the Chronicle, in a separate interview.

“I encourage everyone to cooperate and follow the guidelines set forth by the government or the Inter-Agency Task Force on COVID 19 to totally stop the disease from spreading putting everyone at risk,” Entoma’s statement concluded.

Violators will face charges of violating provision of Republic Act 11332 or the Mandatory Reporting of Notifiable Diseases and Health Events of Public Health Concern Act.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Presidential Assistant for the Visayas (OPAV) has clarified, Thursday, March 16, that their earlier announcement, allowing back riders, has elapsed following recent directives on the strict implementation on the no back rider policy.

Titus Borromeo, OPAV spokesperson said several mayors has appealed to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to consider lighten up’ restrictions allowing riders to carry family members. (by RYAN CRIS SOROTE)