Navotas mayor opposes easing of social distancing in public transport

Navotas Mayor Toby Tiangco opposed the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases’ (-EID) easing of social distancing in public transport, Sunday.

The mayor said the revision of physical distancing rules is inconsistent with the current safety protocols being implemented in different modes of public transportation.

“Studies of health experts showed that social distancing, along with the proper wearing of face masks and handwashing, help prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease,” Tiangco said.

“Reducing distancing among commuters to increase ridership is inconsistent with the minimum safety standards that we have been teaching our people for six months now,” he added.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said public transport vehicles needed to be “safely optimize the carrying capacity” as Metro Manila and nearby areas gradually move towards the “new normal” amid the COVID-19 pandemic. He added workers are expected to return to their jobs as more industries would be allowed in the coming days.

The Department of Transportation chief said the agency eyes the initial optimization of the physical distancing measure in mass transportation to .75 meters among commuters starting September 14.

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Easing of social distancing in public transport

“It will further be optimized to 0.5 meters after two weeks and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks,” Tugade added.

Meanwhile, Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, on Sunday, reiterated an earlier recommendation for the to allow more public vehicles to operate to help the country boost its economy.
“Of course, we need to comply with minimum health standards. That is why the best way to ensure that we can enforce social distancing in transport systems is to have enough space for workers who travel in the first place,” Salceda said.
Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations or ACTO president Efren de Luna, also said the government should have allowed public transportation modes to operate first before imposing reduced . This way, more commuters would be accommodated while maintaining the one-meter physical distance requirement.
As of September, the Philippines has 49,277 active cases of COVID-19 after recording 207,568 recoveries and 4,371 deaths.