MANILA – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday admitted it failed to provide adequate public transportation on the first day of general community quarantine in Metro Manila.
Speaking to Teleradyo, Transportation Assistant Secretary Giovanni Lopez said social distancing was compromised as some commuters were forced to hitch a ride on military trucks on their way to work.
“Sabi ng ating mahal na kalihim [Arthur Tugade], admittedly there was a failure in implementation. Wala naman pong may gusto diyan. Hindi natin ipag-uutos yan,” he said.
(According to Secretary Arthur Tugade, admittedly there was a failure in implementation. No one wanted it to happen. We didn’t order that.)
“Alam niyo naman si kalihim Tugade, 'yan 'yung taong hindi marunong mambola. Kung talagang sa tingin niya, kung ano ang nakikita, 'yun ang sasabihin niya,” he added.
(Secretary Tugade doesn’t sugarcoat. He tells it like it is.)
Lopez, however, insisted that the reopening of public transit was gradual, partial, limited and calculated.
“Huwag po nating isipin na walang plano,” he said, amid criticisms from several groups and commuting public.
(Don’t say we don’t have a plan.)
Lopez also reminded commuters to strictly observe social distancing as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
“Ang sitwasyon natin ibang-iba na. Dapat manaig pa rin ang disiplina natin,” he said.
(Our situation has changed. Discipline must prevail.)
The transportation official meanwhile revealed that they would be able to identify all bus routes by June 21.
“Kanina kausap ko si [LTFRB] chairman [Martin] Delgra. Sabi niya sa akin, pagdating ng June 21 kompleto na ang ating ruta,” he said.
(I was talking earlier to LTFRB chairman Martin Delgra. He told me that all bus routes will be complete by June 21.)
He also said the agency was mulling implementing service contracting, wherein the government pays the operators and drivers, to ensure adequate public transit.
In the next 2 weeks, train and bus augmentation units, taxis, ride-hailing cars, point-to-point buses, shuttle services and bicycles are allowed in a limited capacity.
The DOTr has also allowed tricycles to operate subject to the approval of local government units, while provincial buses are still barred from entering Metro Manila.
For the second phase in the public transport shift, which will run from June 22 to June 30, public utility buses, modern jeepneys and UV express vans will be allowed to operate, on the condition that people wear masks and observe social distancing.