‘Insensitive’ to let public return to work minus adequate public transport, says think-tank


Posted at Jun 06 2020 08:27 PM

The Action for Economic Reforms (AER) called on government to lift restrictions on public utility vehicles and ease the suffering of commuters under general community quarantine (GCQ).

The business think-tank directed its concerns to the national Inter-Agency Taskforce (IATF) on COVID-19 and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

"Some have to compete for the very limited free rides that government offers, with the risk of spreading the virus due to overcrowding . . . To say that this is inhumane is an understatement," the AER said in a statement posted on its website on Saturday.

"It is most insensitive on the part of the IATF to reopen some parts of the economy without the adequate, safe, and accessible transportation system that workers need."

The group pointed out that the massing up of people to take rides can lead to another surge of virus infections, which would hurt efforts to curb the virus and can have massive economic implications.

"Economic activities and productivity suffer as workers struggle to get transportation, and their health are endangered because of their unnecessary exposure to crowding," the AER said.

"To conclude, we call on the IATF and the MMDA to immediately allow mass public transportation that conforms to the highest health and safety standard to operate."

The AER suggested that the government can contract buses and jeepneys, put up safe bike lanes, rationalize routes, and introduce cashless payment.

The group said the changes can help usher in a consolidated public transportation system.

"In this system, cut-throat competition is eliminated, transport workers receive wages and benefits and do not have to work long hours, and commuters get good service through efficient and safe rides," it said.