PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte thumbed down Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia’s plan to allow back riding in motorcycles, saying he could not ignore the laws of the country.
In his public address aired on Friday, Duterte said he could be charged for giving Cebu undue advantage to the prejudice of other local government units (LGUs).
“You know, much as I would like to accommodate Governor Garcia and the board members, here’s what I can say: If I begin to give an exemption to one… I will open myself to charges of anti-graft law, giving another an undue advantage,” Duterte said.
“The law is hard but it is the law. Wala talaga akong magawa (I can’t do anything). It’s not my discretion. Just because I’m the President doesn’t mean I can ignore the laws of the land,” he added.
Garcia has said she would proceed with her plan to allow back riding on privately owned motorcycles in the province despite a warning from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG).
Malacañang said LGUs could not override the policy on back riding set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Several LGUs have asked the IATF to allow family members to back ride on motorcycles amid shortage of public transportation due to lockdown measures.
In a televised meeting with the President, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año reiterated that back riding in motorcycles remains prohibited, saying the issue was a health and safety concern and not convenience.