By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday clarified that electronic trikes (e-trikes) were allowed to travel in Manila as they were specifically used to ferry health workers.
In a news briefing, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año explained the e-trikes are not part of the mass transportation system as they were commissioned by Mayor Isko Moreno for the use of the health workers.
With the novel coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19 pandemic) spreading in the country, Año said that it is with urgency that the health workers are brought to the various medical institutions to attend to COVID-19 patients.
He issued the clarification as some sectors lashed out at the DILG for allowing e-trikes while banning the traditional tricycles.
On Thursday, DILG Undersecretary and spokesperson Jonathan Malaya outrightly rejected the request of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto to allow tricycles to operate in the locality to help the city’s health workers reach their workplaces.
In turning down Sotto’s request, Malaya explained that the general purpose of the suspension of the mass transportation which included tricycles is to restrict travel and make the people stay at home in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expressing deepest respect for Sotto’s opinion, Malaya said Pasig City might want to emulate what Paranaque City did where private buses were borrowed to ferry the health workers.
Even in Quezon City, Malaya said that tricycles were also barred from operating even if thousands of health workers are employed in the numerous state-run and local government run hospitals in the locality.
Meanwhile, Año asked the police that media men with company identification cards (ID) or certification of employment may be allowed to pass through the checkpoints.
He issued the order after reports revealed that some media personalities had a hard time getting through the checkpoints with the absence of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) accredited IDs in the performance of their duties.