Navotas City Mayor Toby Tiangco on Sunday opposed the national government's move to reduce physical distancing in public transportation vehicles, saying it is inconsistent with the current health and safety guidelines regarding the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).
Tiangco said trains, air-conditioned buses, and other modes of public transportation are closed spaces, where the risk of getting infected is higher than outdoors.
“Two meters in open air and 0.75 in closed spaces do not make any sense when studies show that there is a higher risk of transmission in closed spaces,” he said in a statement.
“We have been urging our constituents to practice social distancing even at home and in their workplace. Why would we allow them to forego this safety measure when taking public transportation?” he added.
Starting Monday, September 14, the physical distancing measure being enforced between passengers in public transportation vehicles will be lessened to .75 meter from 1 meter. After two weeks, it will again be lessened to .5 meter, and to .3 meter after another two weeks.
The plan, proposed by the Department of Transportation and Economic Development Cluster, was approved by the National Task Force against COVID-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The Navotas mayor said pushing through with the plan to reduce physical distancing may again lead to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
“We have started to flatten the curve. This means what we have been doing is effective. Let us always put the highest priority on the health and safety of our people,” he said.