Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento has sought the mandatory wearing of personal protective equipment, such as face masks, face shields, gloves, and the like in public transportation to help slow and prevent further transmission of COVID-19 among commuters and public transportation workers.
The House Committee on Transportation chairman filed House Resolution No. 1038 urging the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to require the commuting public and employees in the transportation sector to wear PPEs.
“Requiring public transport commuters in the Philippines to wear personal protective equipment such as face shields, gloves, and cost-type PPEs, whether medical grade or improvised, will significantly reduce transmission of the virus and allow more people to use public transportation,” he said.
He noted that emerging evidence from clinical and laboratory studies and various data briefs from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention showed that wearing of PPEs will substantially decrease the chance of spreading the coronavirus disease and many other viruses and diseases.
Based on the study conducted by the ASSTRA (Associazione Transporti) Studies and Research Office, a national association of local public transport companies in Europe, wearing PPE will significantly reduce transmission of the virus and allow increase in the vehicular capacity of public transportation, the House leader said.
Associazione Transporti also cited that while social distancing is an effective measure in reducing transmission, it is but a short-term solution that cannot be sustained if public transport capacity will not be increased or augmented.
“Economic losses in Philippine revenue may result in billions, if not trillion of pesos, if the public transportation industry will not be augmented, specifically by implementing measures to increase vehicular capacity and ridership, and to ensure the safety of riders and employees alike,” Sarmiento said.
He said the “steadily rising” cases of COVID-19 in the country should prod the government to implement the necessary measures to protect the workers and commuters of public transportation who are heavily susceptible to the virus.