Filipinos no longer have to use those ridiculous plastic motorcycle barriers

If you’re familiar with the Metro Manila area of the Philippines, you’ll know that motorcycle taxis are a common sight, much like they are in other parts of Southeast Asia (hi, Indonesia).

They’re often a cheaper and quicker way to get from Point A to Point B. But with strict safety measures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, these two-wheeled taxi operators had to juggle the need to retain their customers while also providing a ‘safe’ journey with virus mitigation in mind.

IMAGE: Mark Demayo / ABS-CBN

Attempting to address this challenge, the Philippines made it mandatory for motorcycle taxis to have barriers, or shields, that would literally separate the riders and their passengers. These barriers often came in the form of a sheet of transparent acrylic strapped to the back of the rider. In other cases, the passengers would have to hold it up themselves.

You will not be missed.

Many argued that the so-called shields were arbitrary, providing little-to-no protection at all against the spread of COVID-19.

And for the riders themselves, it was a huge hassle to have to lug around a sheet of plastic everywhere. But there’s good news!

With Metro Manila having transitioned into Alert Level 1, which represents the lowest level of COVID-19 restrictions, the government has finally lifted the mandatory motorcycle shield order. And let’s just say, no one’s going to miss those pesky barriers.

In a Facebook post celebrating the announcement, motorcycle taxi company Angkas spared no words in a little comic strip saying their much-needed goodbyes.

“Excuse me? I lost my ‘shield’. Can I please make an announcment?” an Angkas rider asks someone at a counter. The latter obliges his request.

With a face full of exhaustion and menace, the rider then says, “Goodbye you little shit.”

In the caption accompanying the cartoon, Angkas makes three special announcements. The first of which is the fact that passengers no longer need to bring their own motorcycle helmets. They’ll be provided by the riders. Secondly, as we just mentioned, no more motorcycle barriers. “It’s about time,” they say.

And last, but not least, a special promo code (NEWNORMAL) that passengers can use to get a ₱40 (less than US$1) discount off two rides, valid till March 3, 2022.

What are your thoughts on the removal of motorcycle shields?

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Cover image sourced from Philippine News Agency and Michael Varcas / Philstar.