DOTr move to reduce physical distance between commuters in public transport questioned

Vice President Leni Robredo today questioned the Department of Transportation (DOTr) decision to reduce the physical distance between commuters in public transport vehicles starting tomorrow.

Vice President Leni Robredo
(Photo by Charlie Villegas / OVP / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Robredo said the one-meter distance rule between people is still being prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO) to avoid the risk of contracting coronavirus.

”Noong nabasa ko iyong balita kahapon, naghahanap ako ng datos nagsasabi na okay ’yung less than one meter pero wala ako nahanap (When I read the news yesterday, I was looking for data that would say the less than one meter is okay, but I didn’t find any),” she said.

“Kasi ’yung binigay ng WHO na standard na one-meter distance pero hindi ko lang alam kung ano naging basehan ng DOTr para i-allow ‘yung mas maliit diyan (The standard given by WHO is the one-meter distance, but I don’t know the basis of DOTr to allow less than that),” Robredo added.

“Nakabase ba siya sa siyensya? (Is it based on science?)" she asked.

Physical distancing onboard public transport will be reduced from one meter to 0.75 meters after the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases approved the proposal by the Economic Development Cluster (EDC)and the DoTr.

The physical distancing threshold in public transport will be reduced to 0.5 meter by Sept. 28 and to 0.3 meter by Oct. 12.

Robredo said there are other effective ways to boost public transport without risking the health safety of passengers.

The Vice President pushed for the adoption of “service contracting” instead of boundary system to help public utility vehicle drivers during the pandemic.

This will discourage drivers from violating the passenger cap on public transport because they have fixed income, she said.