Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Eduardo Año said on Sunday, Oct. 18, that motorcycle taxis will help alleviate the woes of commuters, as 75 to 100 percent of the workforce have gone back to work with the gradual opening of the country’s economy.
With the one-seat-apart riding capacity rule for public transport, Año estimated that around 400,000 commuters will be stranded as shops and other business firms start to operate.
“Kasi habang binubuksan natin yung economy at saka yung businesses ang problema naman wala naman masasakyan yung mga manggagawa at saka yung mga empleyado papuntang opisina (As we gradually re-open the economy and businesses, the problem is workers and the employees have no rides to work),’’ Año said in an interview with GMA News.
Año assured that barriers that separate drivers from passengers will remain as a requirement to prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
For added safety and health measures, Año encouraged the regular motorcycle taxi riders to have their own helmets.
Año clarified, however, that requiring motorcycle taxi riders to have their own helmets is not mandatory but merely his suggestion.
Although “highly encouraged,” Año stressed that having to require passengers of motorcycle taxis to have their own helmets is unthinkable since it will be an additional financial burden unnecessary in these trying times.
He noted that helmets provided by motorcycle taxi operators to passengers should be disinfected frequently.
The DILG chief added that Congress has passed a resolution that allows the motorcycle taxis to operate unders a so-called pilot project while awaiting the approval of the franchise.
In the event of a “surge, spike, and wave’’ of COVID-19, Año emphasized that motorcycle taxi operations will be stopped.
“Lahat ng mga pagluluwag na ginagawa natin kapag nagkaroon ng another wave talagang we have to stop it pero ang key naman talaga dito ay cooperation ng bawat isa (All of the relaxation of restrictions will stop if there is another wave. But the real key here is full public cooperation),” Año.
As another precautionary measure, Año encouraged motorcycle taxi drivers to conduct their own “temperature check” before taking passengers.
He noted that temperature checks are conducted by the personnel manning the community checkpoints.
Año pointed to “personal responsibility,’’ stressing that individuals with “symptoms’’ should remain at home and not go to work.