De Lima urges IATF to make use of extended ECQ to reform public transport system

Published April 29, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Hannah Torregoza

Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Wednesday called on the government’s task force on the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 to take advantage of the extended enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to study the feasibility of reforming the country’s public transportation system.

Senator Leila de Lima (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)
Senator Leila de Lima (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

De Lima said that while the government is planning on placing Luzon under general community quarantine or GCQ, ease movement restrictions, and allow the gradual resumption of the economy, it should look into concerns regarding public transportation.

“The GCQ will be our new normal until a vaccine has been made available to the world. The idea is that we will allow certain sectors to operate to keep our economy afloat while continuing to support the rest of the country who will remain in quarantine,” De Lima said.

“It is easier said than done. Already, we are in recession and we expect just less than half a million OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) to be repatriated within a year due to global economic downturn,” she said.

De Lima pointed out the next phase of the government’s anti-COVID-19 measures now rests heavily in the development of fair, rational, and sensible rules governing the GCQ, especially with regards to social distancing.

“One of the key areas of concern will be public transportation. Karamihan sa ating mga manggagawa ay walang sariling sasakyan. Madaling sabihin na mag-operate ang mga PUV natin sa mababang kapasidad (Most of our workers do not own a vehicle. It’s easy to say we will allow our public utility vehicles to run on a much lower capacity),”

“Sa ilalim ng GCQ, hindi na puwede ang mga siksikan na PUV. Kaso, magiging inefficient ang byahe at hihina ang kita ng mga drivers at operators (Under a GCQ, PUVs are not allowed to tightly pack people in, so this means lesser earnings for our drivers and operators),” she said.

De Lima said the extension of the ECQ to May 15 will be a great opportunity to reform the public transport industry while safeguarding the welfare of the country’s workers and small owners.

“With our transport sector in the sidelines, we have an opportunity to introduce a safer and more efficient public transportation system,” she said.

“I urge this administration, particularly the Department of Transportation (DOTr), to take advantage of the extended ECQ to prepare our country for the new normal,”

“The success of the GCQ public transport system will play a critical role towards our recovery,” she added.

 
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