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MMDA says no exemption to ‘no backride’ policy: Kahit frontliner!

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The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) on Monday reiterated the strict enforcement of the “no backride” policy as it suspended enforcers for violating the rule amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

In a statement, the MMDA said viral photos and videos showed two enforcers riding on the same motorcycle and another officer riding his MMDA-issued motorcycle with a civilian passenger.

“Gusto lang sana nating bigyang-diin muli na ipinagbabawal ang pag-backride ngayong nasa ilalim ng ECQ ang Metro Manila dahil hindi nito nasusunod ang social distancing measures. Walang exemptions sa guidelines na ito, kahit front-liner man,” the MMDA said.

Another MMDA traffic enforcer, identified as Henry Closa, was also seen riding a motorcycle with a passenger on January 29.

Closa was not suspended after learning that he brought his civilian backrider, Eric Garcia, to the hospital due to hyperacidity. However, the enforcer was issued citation ticket for not giving his passenger a helmet.

“Saludo kami sa ipinakitang kabutihan at malasakit para sa kapwa ng ating enforcer. Ngunit dahil nalaman nating walang helmet si Garcia habang naka-angkas sa motor, bibigyan natin ng ticket ang drayber,” the MMDA said.

The suspension of the MMDA personnel came after motorcycle rider Michael Villanueva claimed in his viral Facebook post he was flagged down by an MMDA enforcer for travelling with his sister-in-law who is a nurse.

Villanueva said the enforcer wanted to bring his sister-in-law to her destination through a bus provided for free for front-liners but after 30 minutes, the MMDA personnel allowed Villanueva to take his passenger to her destination instead.

The MMDA, in a statement, said Villanueva was issued a citation ticket with a PHP5,000 fine since it was his second violation. It also denied that the enforcer allowed Villanueva to continue his journey with his health worker passenger.

“Ayon sa apprehending officer, hindi daw umabot sa 30 minuto na paghihintay sina Villanueva at sa halip ay umalis ng walang permiso sakay ang kanyang hipag habang abala ang mga enforcer,” the MMDA said.

The MMDA said investigation is still ongoing and the apprehending officer will be suspended if found to have violated the policy. – PNA