By Hannah Torregoza
Senator Risa Hontiveros on Sunday renewed her appeal to the government to allow jeepneys and buses to operate again under social distancing rules to ease the problems of commuters.
“It is in the best interest of the commuting public and the transport sector alike if jeeps and buses soon resume operations provided they follow social distancing and other health guidelines,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
“Hindi lang dapat para sa mga may sasakyan ang kalsada natin. Kung may social distancing naman, bakit hindi payagan na ang mga jeep at bus? (Our roads should not only be for private cars, if there is social distancing, why don’t we allow jeeps and buses?),” she stressed.
Hontiveros said that as long as social distancing and other protocols to protect commuters from COVID-19 are strictly observed, she sees no problem why the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is taking so long to allow them to resume operations.
She said DOTr’s restrictions—allowing a limited number of buses to ply Metro Manila routes and barring jeeps from resuming—has resulted only to further income loss for drivers and operators.
This has also increased the health risks for commuters who endure long walks or crowded lines just to get to their destination, she said.