By Jhon Aldrin Casinas
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto said Thursday they will comply with the directive of the national government to prohibit the operation of tricycles during the implementation of enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon.
The Palace rejected the suggestion to allow tricycles to operate, saying this would only defeat the purpose of social distancing amid the threat of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“No more tricycles as per national government directive. We will comply,” Sotto told the Manila Bulletin in a text message Thursday.
The city mayor said they were not arguing with the national government when he temporarily allowed the limited operation of tricycles in Pasig.
“We are not arguing with them, we just expressed our opinion based on our analysis and experience on the ground,” Sotto explained. “We are thankful that they listened, but ultimately we must defer to their wisdom.”
Sotto on Tuesday temporarily allowed the limited operation of tricycles within the city’s borders following the implementation of the ECQ.
Among the measures under ECQ was the suspension of mass public transport, which became a burden not only to private employees but also to health workers and frontline emergency personnel.
“Our risk assessment shows that we cannot completely ban tricycles at this point,” Sotto said earlier in a Facebook post.
Despite deploying the city’s buses and other vehicles, the mayor noted that these were still not enough.
“Sa ngayon ay pinapayagan ko ang limitadong pagbiyahe ng mga tricycle sa loob ng Pasig (I will allow for the meantime the limited trip of tricycles within Pasig),” he added.
The mayor noted that the tricycles were allowed to operate as long as drivers observe the guidelines on limiting their number of passengers to three to ensure social distancing.
He explained that there are health workers that need to report for work as well as workers and employees that render essential services.
Meanwhile, the 30-year-old mayor said they have utilized dozens of buses, coasters, and e-jeeps to ferry health workers and other frontline personnel as mass transports in Metro Manila were still paralyzed.
“We have roughly 50 buses, coasters, and e-jeeps going around the city right now,” Sotto said.
He also told the Manila Bulletin that they are currently coordinating with the Department of Transportation for the establishment of a route from Rizal province to eastern Metro Manila to transport health workers and frontliners.