MANILA - It will be "impossible" to fully implement the half-capacity policy for public utility vehicles (PUVs) during the month-long community quarantine in Metro Manila that began Sunday, the president of a national jeepney operators' group said.
Authorities are prohibiting traditional jeepneys and modern PUVs from operating in full capacity to limit the possible spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
While some jeepney drivers are willing to abide by the policy, it will be "impossible" to stop passengers from boarding jeepneys, especially during rush hour, said Zeny Maranan, president of the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP).
"Susunod kami, malinaw yun. Pero hindi ako masyado maniniwala na totally magagawa yun," Maranan said in an interview on DZMM.
(We will comply, that's clear. But I don't really believe that it can be totally implemented.)
"Ang problema namin minsan... nagmamadali yung mga tao, sasakay, hindi mo kayang pigilan yan... It's impossible," she said.
(Our problem sometimes... is that people rush to ride and you can't stop them.)
Limiting the number of passengers per vehicle can only happen if police will be stationed along all stops, Maranan said.
"Pero ang dapat na sitahin nila dito ay yung mga pasahero. Dapat sila yung sabihan ninyo," she said.
(It's the passengers that must be called out.)
Other jeepney drivers are also reluctant to follow the half-capacity rule for practical reasons, the FEJODAP chief said.
"Maging makatotoohanan tayo sa anong ito, kailangan makapagsakay ka talaga ng pasahero. Ang unang target ng isang driver ay magsakay ka ng pasahero kasi ang una mong iipunin dito ay boundary," she said.
(Let's be realistic. You really need to take passengers. The first target of a driver is to accept passengers because your initial goal is to earn first for the boundary rate.)
Some jeepney operators and drivers are in talks to temporarily reduce boundary fees, but that will depend on a case-to-case basis, she said.
Jeepney drivers, operators and passengers should sacrifice while the country is in "crisis mode," Consumers' Safety and Protection national president Maricor Akol said in a separate interview.
"Ang layunin ng pamahalaan ay para ma-contain itong contagion," Akol said on DZMM.
"Dapat ang isipin natin ay hindi ang pagkalugi. Dapat ang isipin natin ay ang ating kapakanan... Lahat tayo dapat magsakripisyo," she said.
(Let's not think about economic losses. Let's think about our welfare... All of us should sacrifice.)
The Philippines last week declared a state of public health emergency over the new coronavirus disease, and then raised its alert to the highest Code Red Sub Level 2 due to sustained community transmission.
As of March 14, the country has recorded 111 COVID-19 cases, of whom, 8 died, 2 recovered, while 101 others remain confined in hospitals.
The disease, recently described as a global pandemic, has resulted in nearly 6,000 deaths, and infected some 150,000 others worldwide.