By Armando Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY — Mayor Sara Z. Duterte defended her decision to allow tricycles and taxi to still operate in the city even with the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) last Saturday.
In a statement, Duterte said that, under the provision on transportation of the Department of the Interior and Local Governments (DILG) Memorandum Circular 2020-062 issued on March 21, “transportation should also be provided by local government units (LGU) for those seeking to avail of these basic services, such as those needing to go to the hospital or clinics, or those who have limited access to establishments providing basic necessities”.
She also noted that the LGUs were yet to be reminded to exercise strict social distancing measures, including appropriate health protocols, in allowing some forms of public transportation to operate.
“The DILG order was Davao City’s basis in allowing tricycles and taxis during the implementation of the ECQ,” she said.
The mayor said following the memorandum, the city government issued Executive Order 23 with the following modes of transportation allowed:
a. Private vehicles and Taxis with one driver and one passenger in front and one at the back, observing physical distancing;
b. Tricycle with one driver and one passenger in front and one at the back, observing distancing;
c. Single rider on motorcycle or bicycle;
d. Free bus rides for employees of ECQ exempted sector, the health sector, and other frontliners.
Duterte said if the city will not allow taxis and tricycles to operate and assist the general public in attending to their basic necessities, they will be caught in an absurd situation.
“People who own vehicles can easily move around and the general public would resort to walking more than 20 kilometers just to buy food and other basic necessities,” she said.
The mayor said she would appreciate any proposal from anyone who could have a better answer on how people can individually transport to the hospital, clinics, grocery stores, public markets, and other establishments providing basic necessities, at any given time, between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
“Approximately 400,000 individuals with food and medicine passes, in an area comprised of 2,443.61 sq. km.,” she said.
“Let me also express my readiness to answer any inquiry that is to be made by the Department of Interior and Local Government and the National Bureau of Investigation on this decision,” Duterte added.