MANILA -- Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto rejected banning tricycles, which he said are needed to ferry health professionals and essential service providers who are exempted from a quarantine of all households in Luzon, aimed at arresting the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Some health workers were forced to walk to hospitals following the suspension of all public mass transport for Luzon's lockdown, set to last until April 12.
Pasig is already using its government vehicles for free rides but these are far from enough, said Sotto.
"Our risk assessment shows that we cannot completely ban tricycles at this point," the 30-year-old mayor said on Facebook.
"Kailangan makapasok ng mga health worker natin ganoon din ang mga nagtatrabaho sa essential services," he added.
(Our health workers and those in the essential services need to report for work.)
There are also emergencies in which only ticycles can reach certain areas, said Sotto.
The mayor said he allowed "limited" tricyle trips in Pasig, provided the number of passengers per ride is small enough to observe social distancing or a gap of at least one meter from another person to minimize the risk of infection.
The interior department is ironing plans for providing free shuttle services for frontliners battling COVID-19, said the agency's Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya.
The Philippies so far confirmed 142 cases of the respiratory disease, including 12 deaths and 3 patients who recovered.