Cebu transport group questions mandatory use of air purifier

Published August 16, 2021, 2:41 PM

by Calvin Cordova 

CEBU CITY – A transport group here has criticized the mandatory use of air purifiers by public utility vehicles (PUVs) drivers and conductors.

The Pagkakaisa nga mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide-Cebu (Piston-Cebu) described the order as ‘band-aid’ solution in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in public transportation.

Greg Perez, chairperson of Piston – Cebu, said PUV drivers and conductors were badly affected by the lockdowns and will now have to deal with additional burden with the mandatory use of air purifiers.

“The air purifier is a mere band-aid solution. The drivers have had no income for many months because of the lockdown and the new policies imposed on public transportation. The air purifier is just an additional expense on the part of the drivers and conductors,” Perez said in a statement.

Perez said drivers and conductors must be provided with air purifiers for free if the order pushes through.

Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has issued a memorandum requiring PUV drivers and conductors “to wear personal air purifiers at all times during their trip.”

The memorandum took effect Monday, August 16.

Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama on Sunday, August 15, also issued an Executive Order requiring drivers and conductors to wear air purifiers.

Some drivers and conductors at the Cebu South Bus Terminal have started wearing air purifier necklaces.

“It’s fine with us because this is the order. Our company provided us with purifiers but we will return this after our shift,” a driver of Corominas Bus Lines said in Cebuano.

Ricky Hikain, a driver of Calvo Bus Lines, said they have no opposition with the mandatory use of air purifiers as long as it will be given for free.

“We have no choice but to comply but we should not spend for it,” the driver said.

Some drivers and conductors of Ceres Bus Lines have also started wearing air purifiers but their paid their own money for the gadget.

A Ceres bus driver said he bought the gadget for P850 as the company asked the provincial government to give them until August 25 to purchase enough air purifiers for their personnel.

Some air purifiers would cost P500 to P1,000. It supposedly emits negative ions to ward air pollutants.