Why gov’t pushed to ease distancing in public transport

Published September 20, 2020, 3:07 PM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

Malacañang said that the government pushed to ease the distancing measures in the different modes of transport as it can no longer allow more public transportation on the road.

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

In his press briefing last week, presidential spokesman Harry Roque said the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases has already allowed the most number of public transportation it can amid the country’s fight against COVID-19.

“Sagad na nga po iyong ating transportasyon na pinalalabas ngayon (We’ve already reached the maximum when it comes to the public transportation on the roads),” he said.

“Ang solusyon nga po is damihan iyong mga pasahero na pupuwedeng isakay ng ating mga pampublikong transportasyon (The solution, really, is to allow more passengers to ride a public vehicle),” he added.

Roque assured that a subsidy for public transportation drivers is ready under the Bayanihan to Recover As One (Bayanihan 2) Act because they will not break even if a one-meter distance between passengers will be observed.

“Effectively mga 20 percent lang po iyan. Kaya kinakailangan ng subsidy dahil hindi sila mabubuhay, (They will only be able to make 20 percent of their usual earnings. That’s why a subsidy is needed because) they will not break even,” he said.

“Iyong subsidy na ibibigay natin sa (The subsidy we will be giving under) Bayanihan II is enough to make it break even for them plus a little profit of about 20 percent, I think,” he added.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced early this month that it will start easing the required distancing measures in public transportation as the government reopens the economy. However, this was met with criticisms not just from the public but also from medical frontliners.

After President Duterte asked the IATF to study its recommendation anew, he decided to revoke this and kept the one-meter distance between passengers inside public transportation.

Roque said that the one-meter distance will come with the requirement to wear face masks and face shields. Passengers will likewise be prohibited to talk and eat inside the vehicle while vehicles will be regularly sanitized.

 
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