All modes of public transportation are fully prepared to go back to operations in case President Duterte decides to lift the modified enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and neighboring localities by Aug. 19.
This assurance was made to the House Committee on Transportation in a virtual hearing conducted Thursday. Each one of representatives from the air, rail, maritime, and land transportation were asked by Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento to describe the state of preparations they have conducted so far in anticipation of the lifting of the MECQ.
General Manager Ed Monreal of the Manila International Airport Authority assured Sarmiento that while there remains a number of restrictions on air transport, the MIAA is “very much ready” for the return of air passengers.
On the other hand, Director Carmelo Arcilla of the Civil Aviation Board said the commercial aviation sector is likewise prepared to go back into business.
Sarmiento stressed that preparations for the lifting of the MECQ is important in public transport operations but equally imperative is the putting in place of health and safety precautions against the spread of COVID 19.
During the meeting, Sarmiento revealed that the House panel has appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to allow the operation of motorcycle taxis.
“There was a response," Sarmiento said but did not reveal what the IATF told him.
Nevertheless, Sarmiento said he is heavily relying on the promise of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to open more routes for the operations of public utility jeepneys.
Celeste Lauta, acting assistant general manager of the Philippine National Railways, told the House panel that trains will be ready to return should government lift the MECQ in Metro Manila.
The LRT-2 will also open immediately, this time, with additional safety protocols such as the installation of e-loading machines to help ensure less contact among persons.
“Instead of cash, ang mga pasahero will be using ang kanilang mga bank facilities to put load sa mga ticket,” said LRTA spokesman Hernando Cabrera.