What’s Happening: Cebu and the “No Backrider Policy”

The Cebu Provincial Government headed by Governor Gwen Garcia has moved to allow backriding in private motorcycles with conditions, in response to constituents' clamor to use the available transportation mode. However this runs in direct opposition with the DOTr and LTO as well as just recently, the pronouncements of President Rodrigo Duterte.

The Department of Transportation or DOTr thru the LTO issued guidelines for public transport operation during the period of community quarantine, which includes no back riding for motorcycle vehicles.

  • In their MC No. 2020-2185, Section 5.C3 “Motorcycle Passenger Limit: In compliance with physical distancing requirements,the prohibition of backride passengers for motorcycle riders shall remain for the duration of the GCQ period.”

Heeding the clamor of their constituents, Cebu Provincial Governor Gwen Garcia, and the members of the Cebu Provincial Board in consultation with various government offices and other LGUs, have pushed for allowing back riders in private motorcycles.

  • Only in private motorcycles.
  • The driver and rider must be living in the same household who are related by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree to the owner of the motorcycle.
  • Only one back rider.
  • No fee is to be collected from the rider, or paid to the driver.

This move by Governor Garcia and the Provincial Board has been supported by seven of Cebu’s congressional representatives through a Manifesto.

“As representatives of the people, we cannot play deaf to our constituents’ earnest and desperate plea to lift this unfair, anti-poor and insensitive “no back rider” policy, as it disproportionately impacts the poor over the rich who can afford other means of transportation.”

from the Manifesto of Support to Cebu Governor Garcia in allowing back-riding in private motorcycles. Signed by Cebu First district Rep. Eduardo R. Gullas Sr., 2nd district Rep. Wilfredo S. Caminero, 3rd district Rep. Pablo John F. Garcia, 4th district Rep. Janice Z. Salimbangon, 5th district Rep. Vincent Franco D. Frasco, 6th district Rep. Emmarie M. Ouano-Dizon, and 7th district Rep. Peter John D. Calderon.

Governor Garcia and the Provincial board are confident in their pronouncement to allow back riding for Cebu’s constituents on the following bases:

  • Responding to need of the people of Cebu by exercising necessary powers within provisions of Republic Act No. 7160 or the Local Government Code of 1991
  • Noting that the Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code. (Read full text of RA 4136 here) does not prohibit the use of private motorcycles to transport passengers provided that the passenger is a relative by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth civil degree to the owner and shall not be used to solicit, accept or be used to transport passengers or freight for pay.
  • Noting that a mere LTO Memorandum Circular cannot supersede a law and jurisprudence i.e. Supreme Court cases of “China Banking Corporation vs. Home Development Mutual Fund dated May 19, 1999 and The People of the Philippines vs. Hon. Maximo A. Macaren dated October 18, 1977.”

I especially like the last paragraph of the Manifesto that reads:

“We therefore welcome with gratitude and admiration the move of Governor Gwen Garcia and the Provincial Board of Cebu to allow and regulate passengers in private motorcycles, as allowed by law, as it grants relief to our overburdened constituents, especially the poor and underprivileged. We urge transportation officials in the province and the region to fully cooperate with and assist the Province of Cebu as they implement this provincial ordinance. We ask nothing more and nothing less than this: Listen to your people, and follow the law.”

from the Manifesto of Support to Cebu Governor Garcia in allowing back-riding in private motorcycles.

A draft Executive Order has been transmitted to the Cebu Provincial Board, for possible enactment as an Ordinance. This is to be tackled today, June 5, 2020.

  • This is in light of pronouncements made (June 4) by DILG Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III, that any such move will be met with legal action because “there is a science” to this policy, and a pronouncement by President Rodrigo Duterte in his televised announcement (June 5) that he will not allow such a move.

Jump to the 55:00 timestamp to listen on the topic of the Manifesto .

In an interview with dyLa 909kHz (11AM June 5), Governor Garcia is said to have withdrawn her move to allow backriding in Cebu province. She also mentioned that the special session of the Provincial Board will no longer push through.


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