In developing countries like the Philippines, motorcycles serve as a vital part of the people's daily lives. With literally millions of motorcycles plying the various streets in the country, the utility that motorcycles present to the economy is undeniable. However, given all the functional and practical uses that motorcycles offer, there’s no denying the presence of criminal activity aboard two-wheels, as well.
For starters, scooters and underbone motorcycles make for easy getaway vehicles thanks to their lightweight construction and ease of use. With this in mind, lawmakers and politicians in the Philippines have long been brainstorming ways to curb motorcycle-related criminal activity—with the top priority being riding-in-tandem shootings. The latest development in all this comes to us from the Chief Presidential legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, who recently proposed an outright ban on pillion riding, or as it is colloquially referred to, back-riding.
Mr. Panelo made his intentions known during the launching ceremony of the Philippine National Police Tactical Motorcycle Riding Unit, or PNP-TMRU. In a statement in Filipino, the legal counsel stated, "let’s just ban another person from riding a motorcycle. Only one rider is enough". Furthermore, he went on to elaborate that not even family members should be allowed to ride together on motorcycles as it is easy for people to pose as family members even if they really aren't. “If we don’t outlaw riding-in-tandem, there will always be shootings, because they can always pretend to be husband and wife, father and son,” Panelo added.
If and when a total ban on motorcycle pillion riding is implemented, it will definitely have a massive effect on the hundreds of thousands of Filipinos who rely on pillion riding to get to their destinations on a daily basis. For many families in the lower and middle classes, a motorcycle is their only means of personal transportation.