Lawmaker says Luzon lockdown can be best time to fix MRT, LRT

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 18 2020 05:17 AM

A lawmaker on Tuesday said the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) can be the best time for the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to fix the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT).

House Transportation Committee chair Edgar Mary Sarmiento said that the said order by President Rodrigo Duterte can be a virtual "reset button" for Metro Manila's mass transport sector, especially its railway systems.

He added that the current situation requiring the operations of the MRT and the LRT lines to stop "presents an opportunity for the managements of these rail systems to fix all the problems that have plagued them for a very long time."

"All the needed repair works in the past are not fully carried out because we cannot stop the operation of these rail systems. Now that the President has ordered a complete shutdown of their operation, maybe it is the best time to fix all the rolling stocks to include the railway system," Sarmiento said.

However, Sarmiento said all personnel involved in repair and maintenance work should observe biohazard protocols to avoid spreading COVID-19.

Sarmiento added that frontline personnel must have free shuttles in order to continue their services for the meantime. 

He said the inter-angency task force on COVID-19 can tap the shuttle buses of government offices. 

"Kawawa naman po itong mga frontliners natin dahil kahit gustong-gustong nilang tumulong wala naman silang masakyan papunta sa kanilang mga dapat puntahan. Sana mabigyan natin sila ng libre at ligtas na masakyan habang ipinapatupad itong enhanced community quarantine," Sarmiento said.

The health department has recorded a total of 187 COVID-19 cases, with 14 fatalities and 6 recoveries.

The pandemic has prompted the Philippine government to declare a state of public health emergency, and impose a Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine beginning Tuesday.