House backs DOTr bid to relax distancing rules in public transport

Published September 12, 2020, 5:07 PM

by Ben Rosario

The chairperson of the House Committee on Economic Affairs on Saturday, Sept. 12,  said loosening the  strict physical distancing in public transport is a much-needed move that will help gradually revive the country’s economy amid the COVID 19 pandemic.

AAMBIS-OWA Rep. Sharon Garin cited the proposal of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to allow an increase in transport ridership by relaxing the physical distancing regulations.

“We have consistently pushed and lobbied for this because this the primary and most important component in reviving our economy,’said Garin.

She explained that when supply for public transportation is less than demand, people forego social distancing. 

“Without public transport, people can’t go to work and businesses won’t operate. The wheels of the economy won’t start turning without ample public transportation,” stressed Garin.

She added: “ This is truly a step towards the right direction, provided proper health protocols and risk management are practiced.”

The House Committee on Transportation has also batted for the grant of wider leeway for the resumption of operations of other means of public transport.

The House panel recently endorsed the lifting of the ban on the use of motorcycle-hailing services “so long as they comply with health and safety protocols.”

“The panel sees the importance of providing accessible public transport now that we are back to GCQ and many members of the committee feel that our motorcycle taxis could fill the gap on our prevailing transportation vacuum due to the COVID-190 pandemic,” said Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, committee chairman.

The DOTr has announced that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has already approved the proposal of the Economic Development Cluster for the lifting of strict social distancing protocols in public transport .