Also, according to Sangrines, the driver and back-rider must be a couple (either married or live-in partners) as required by the national government’s Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID). “For a long time, motorcycle riders had repeatedly requested the government to allow at least their partners to back-ride with them due to limited public transportation. And now that the government finally granted their request, they openly and brazenly disregarded the rules,” Eleazar said in a statement. Police Lieutenant General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, JTF COVID Shield commander, said the 7,091 violators recorded as of July 18 showed the government’s resolve to implement the two rules for back-riding – that there must be installed barriers that pass the safety standard and the riders must be married or living-in couples. Over the weekend, however, it was announced by the national government that motorcycle riders have until July 26 to install either a prototype plastic shield as proposed by Bohol governor Arthur Yap or a barrier designed by motorcycle ride-hailing platform Angkas. Most of the violators were caught back-riding with other relatives, friends, neighbors and other people, he revealed. Both driver and back-rider are also required to wear personal protective equipment such as facemask or face shield, and helmet. Over 7,000 motorcycle riders across the country have been given warnings since July 10 when the government announced it was allowing pillion riding only for married couples or live-in partners, the Joint Task Force COVID Shield (JTF COVID) revealed yesterday. The shield is being required as a protection for both driver and back-rider from getting SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). “Let us allow the government to implement these rules to ensure that everybody would comply and at the same time, for our law enforcers on the ground not to be overwhelmed by the large number of violators,” Eleazar said./PN Police Regional Office 7 (Central Visayas) had the most number of accosted violators with 1,755 unauthorized back riders followed by Police Regional Office 5 (Bicol) with 741 violators; Police Regional Office 6 (Western Visayas) with 737; and Police Regional Office 3 (Central Luzon) with 675. Violators would be fined for P500. Those without shields separating the driver from the back-rider would be apprehended, said Police Captain Shella Mae Sangrines, ICPO spokesperson. ILOILO City – Today the Iloilo City Police Office (ICPO) will start checking motorcycles with pillion riders or back-riders.