Govt urged to provide more public transport vs easing physical distancing rule


Posted at Sep 14 2020 10:48 AM

Govt urged to provide more public transport vs easing physical distancing rule 1
Commuters wearing face shields and face masks ride air-conditioned jeepneys in Valenzuela City on August 19, 2020. The IATF issued a directive telling people to wear face shields in public transport and inside their workplaces aside from face masks and the practice of social distancing to avoid the spread of COVID-19. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - A commuters group on Monday urged government to provide more public transport vehicles instead of reducing physical distancing to accommodate more passengers.

Government has begun the easing of physical distancing to 0.75 meters from 1 meter, citing the existing implementation of minimum health protocols such as the use of face masks and face shields.

It, however, should provide additional public vehicles to ferry workers as not all employers, especially small and medium firms, can provide transportation, according to Jed Ugay, spokesperson of Move as One Coalition.

"Ang posisyon namin is imbis bawasan ang social distancing bakit po hindi na lang damihan ang supply ng public transport para yung ganung karaming pasahero ay makapag-practice pa rin ng social distancing ng 1 meter," he told ABS-CBN's Teleradyo.

(Our position is instead of reducing social distancing, government should provide more public transport for passengers to still practice and follow the 1-meter social distancing.)

"Naniniwala kami na dapat ang mininum pa rin natin ay 1-meter social distancing para po sigurado dahil nanggaling na rin po ito sa mga eksperto."

(We believe the minimum (distance) should still be 1-meter so we can be sure and this advice also came from experts.)

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Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Steve Pastor said the agency's proposal was backed by research and underwent "a thorough and very rigid process of interpellation" before the Inter-Agency Task Force on the pandemic.

"There has been no proven evidence that public transportation is really a vector for transmission of the virus. We've done our research and we have yet to see any specific or medical findings that transportation is supposedly a vector for mass transmission," he told ANC.

"The reduced physical distancing from 1 meter to 0.75 meter, it’s still an arm’s length distance between the passengers."

He added that the IATF approved the easing of physical distancing in public transport to 0.5 meters but the agency said it would implement 0.75-meter physical distancing for a "smoother transition."

Train lines earlier halted their operations as several staff contracted COVID-19.

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