Palace: Allowing more passengers in public vehicles 'a matter of time'


Posted at Oct 05 2020 04:18 PM

Commuters ride a passenger utility jeepney in Manila on Sept. 14, 2020, as the transportation department eases the physical distancing rule in public transport systems. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- It is only "a matter of time" before public transportation capacity is allowed up to 70 percent, Malacañang said Monday, as the government sought to revive the economy that the coronavirus pandemic plunged into recession. 

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III had urged the inter-agency task force leading the pandemic response to increase public transport capacity to complement its move to allow some businesses to operate at full capacity under general community quarantine (GCQ). 

"Well pinag-iisipan po talaga iyan ng IATF dahil alam natin na ang tanging paraan para maiahon sa kahirapan ay ang pagbubukas ng ekonomiya na pupuwede naman pong mangyari sa pamamagitan ng pag-iingat ng buhay para makapag hanap-buhay," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque. 

"At sa tingin ko po it’s a matter of time ‘no bago natin maibalik sa 70 percent itong transportation natin," he said in a press briefing. 

(The IATF is thinking about that because we know that the only way to curb poverty is to open up the economy, which can happen by being careful with our life. I think it's a matter of time before we can bring back our transportation to the 70-percent capacity.) 

Among the businesses that the trade department allowed to operate at full capacity during GCQ are mining and quarrying, financial services, legal and accounting, and non-leisure outlets in malls and commercial centers. 

Last month, the IATF suspended shorter physical distancing requirements in public vehicles after experts warned that this could spur the spread of COVID-19. 

The Philippines has tallied 316,678 coronavirus infections, of which 56,445 were active as of Sunday.