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GOV TO APPEAL BACKRIDING
By: Vanessa Almeda, Mylen Manto | Published Monday, June 08, 2020
As Gov. Gwen Garcia sets aside her EO on backriding, she commits to not give up and continue to plead on President’s "good heart" to allow motorcycles in Cebu Province to carry one passenger. (Junjie Mendoza)

Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia assured Cebuanos she has not given up on her position to allow “backriding” on motorcyles in Cebu Province, even as she recalled her executive order in deference to President Rodrigo Duterte.

“Nahibaw mo ang presidente mao na gud nay pinakalabaw nato sa tanan. Gipili sad na sa katawhan. Siya sad na akong presidente mao nga motuman ko sa unsay iyang gusto. Morespeto ko sa decision sa presidente,” Garcia said on Friday during her regular livestream report held in Malapascua Island, Daanbantayan.

Garcia, however, clarified that as she sets her EO aside, she will still continue to plead on the president’s “good heart,” as he is known to be pro-poor. 

“Aw maghuwat ta, pero mopadayon ta og paghangyo, sa pag-apela nga tugutan ang pag-backride,” Garcia further said.

Duterte had turned down the move of Cebu Province, wherein the Provincial Board was poised to approve an ordinance allowing backriding. In a taped public address aired Thursday night, Duterte said: “Much as I would like really to accommodate Governor Garcia and the board members, here’s what can I say. If I begin to give an exemption to one…I will open myself charges of anti-graft law giving undue advantage to the other to the prejudice of another.”

The governor is not losing hope on the issue.

“Ang kasing-kasing sa atong presidente alang man gyud sa kabus. Nahibawo man mo nga mobati man na siya sa mga kabus. Magpadayon lang ta sa pag-ampo ug magpadayon ta sa panghinaut nga kining atong hangyo moabot ang adlaw nga tugutan lang gyud gihapon,” Garcia said.

Last Wednesday, June 3, the governor signed Executive Order 19 in response to public clamor to allow one single passenger or back rider for private motorbikes. 

“We have set it aside ang EO. And also ang atong PB (Provincial Board) nga tasked to take it up atong gi-advisan nga i-defer lang una,” Garcia said.  

Since border controls eased and other restrictions were lifted due to the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), public clamor for back rides on motorbikes increased.

Work resumed Monday, June 1, and reports of thousands of Cebuanos left stranded on highways waiting for public transport reached Garcia. 

“Ako lang, wala koy gipangayo nga special favor. Ako lang ni i-clarify. Ang ako gi-request dili ni alang kanako. Ako lang ang nahimo nga conduit, ako na lang ang ni-express sa hangyo sa libo ka liboan o milyon milyon naman gani ka mga Sugbuanon nga hilabihan intawon nga na-inconvenience ani, nag-antos nga dili tugutan nga pagbackride nga gitugutan man ni sa balaod,” the governor said. 

“Suffice it to say, di ta mawad-an og paglaum. Keep the faith,” Garcia said.  

“Magpadayon ko sa paghangyo sa presidente nga unta tagaan kini niya og konsiderasyon. Tutal this is not contrary to the law, gitugutan man ni sa balaod,” she said.

Last  June 4, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary Epimaco Densing III warned the governor that she will face administrative and criminal charges if she insists with her EO. Her decision to “set aside” the EO raised public concern that the governor is backing down because of the supposed threat.

Garcia said she is ready to face the DILG and respond to a show-cause order.

“Mao na akong giisip nga balaanong katungod. Responsibilidad kaayong dako. Gipili ko ninyo, panalipdan ta mo. Ako gyud paninguhaon nga ang inyong tingog, ang inyong yangongo katagaan og alibyo,” she said.

However, she emphasized that it was already the president who spoke, and she being the elected official like the president, she will respect the highest official of the land. 

“So, it is incumbent upon us nga mga elected official to respect the highest official of the land. Highest elected official of the land,” she emphasized. 

“But sama sa giingon ko this will not stop me nga magpadayon sad ko og apela sa presidente nga unta matagaan niya’g konsiderasyon ang labihang daghanang mga kabus natong mga kaigsoonan nga i-lift ang no-backride policy. Tutal this is not contrary to the law, dili man ni illegal, gitugutan man ni sa balaod,” the governor reiterated. 

Provincial Board Member Atty. John Ismael Borgonia, author of the ordinance which was set to adopt the governor’s EO, said the ordinance is “good as dead.” 

But when the president reconsiders, Borgonia will refile the ordinance. (Vanessa Almeda, Mylen Manto)