THE Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday rejected a request of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto to exempt tricycles in his jurisdiction from the ban on public transportation under the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
DILG spokesman Jonathan Malaya said the agency cannot grant Sotto’s request because allowing tricycles to continue will defeat the purpose of the quarantine, specifically social distancing.
Sotto has asked the national government to allow tricycles to continue to ply their routes in the city to transport health workers and other persons allowed to travel under the quarantine guidelines. He has actually allowed the operation of tricycles in the city during the past days. He assured that tricycle trips are still subjected to protocols, including limiting the number of passengers.
“We understand the request of Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto for an exemption. But let me emphasize, mass transportation is not allowed under the quarantine,” Malaya said, stressing that the continued operation of public utility vehicles contributes to the spread of the virus.
“Every person is a potential (virus) carrier, that’s why mass transportation – from tricycles to buses – should not be allowed to operate,” he said.
Instead of allowing tricycle operations, Malaya told Sotto to emulate other cities who have tapped the city or town vehicles to transport people allowed to travel under the quarantine. He said Pasig City may also consider asking companies to lend to the city some vehicles.
“If other LGUs can come up with a system to transport health workers, why can’t Pasig do it? Of course, we respect the opinion of Mayor Vico Sotto of Pasig but forgive us mayor, we cannot grant your request,” Malaya said.
Malaya added allowing the operation of tricycles in Pasig City may also prompt other LGUs to request for similar exemptions.
“It is for all of us. Again, I appeal to mayor Vico to support what we are doing. Your LGU should provide the vehicles, Pasig City has many vehicles…pull them out, assign route so health workers can reach the hospitals like what other local government units are doing,” said Malaya.
MORE RIDES FOR FRONTLINES
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday continued to roll out its free bus service to help bring health workers to and from hospitals.
The free DOTr bus services will now serve health workers assigned to the Valenzuela City General Hospital, MCU hospital, Tondo General Hospital, Metropolitan Medical Center, San Lazaro Hospital, Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center, University of Santo Tomas Hospital, Chinese General Hospital, United Doctors Medical Center, Quezon City General Hospital, Philippine Orthopedic, United Doctors Medical Center, Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial, Diliman Doctors Hospital, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, National Kidney and Transplant Institute, Philippine Heart Center, East Avenue Medical Center, and Philippine Children’s Hospital.
Marikina Valley Medical Center, Amang Rodriguez Memorial Medical Center, BFCT East Metro Transport Terminal, Quirino Memorial Medical Center, the Medical City Ortigas, Ortigas Hospital and Healthcare, Pasig City General Hospital, VRP Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Rizal Medical Center, Providence Hospital, Capitol Medical Center, UERM Memorial Medical Center, National Children’s Hospital, De Los Santos Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center – E. Rodriguez, Cardinal Santos Medical Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Santa Ana Hospital, Makati Medical Center, RITM, Asian Hospital and Medical Center, Muntinlupa City Hospital, Makati Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center – BGC, Perpetual Help Medical Center, Las Piñas General Hospital, San Juan de Dios Educational Medical Center, Pasay City General Hospital, Adventist Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, Philippine General Hospital, and Manila Doctors Hospital.
Buses will transport passengers at 5 a.m., 1 p.m., 5 p.m., and 9 p.m.
The DOTr proposed that a similar bus service scheme be replicated for all regions in Luzon while the enhanced community quarantine is in effectThe Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Land Transportation Office (LTO), Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT), and private bus companies such as HM Transit, San Agustin, MetroExpress, RRCG, Precious Grace, Ceres, Jac Liner, St. Rose, and automotive company Foton.
FREE OWWA RIDES
With overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) now allowed to depart for their work site despite the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine, the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) said it will provide them with shuttle services.
In an advisory, the OWWA said it is set to provide transportation assistance to stranded OFWs set to depart from and arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“The ‘Hatid-Sundo sa mga Stranded OFWs’ is a service of OWWA that will give free transportation to OFWs set to travel to and from NAIA,” OWWA said, adding the program sets four bus routes with three round trips each.
For North Luzon, the route will be from NAIA Terminal 3 to Dau Bus Terminal and vice versa with trips scheduled from 7am, 12nn, and 6pm. Its stopovers (both ways) will be in NAIA Terminal 2, NAIA Terminal 1, Tabang Exit, and SM City San Fernando.
For South Luzon, the route will be from NAIA Terminal 3 to Turbina Terminal and vice versa with trips scheduled from 7am, 12nn, and 6pm. Its stopovers (both ways) will be at the NAIA Terminal 2, NAIA Terminal 1, McDonald’s (St. Dominic) in Bacoor, Central Savemore in Salitran, SM Dasmarinas, and Sta. Rosa Exit.
For NCR 1, the route will be from NAIA Terminal 3 to Fairview and vice versa with trips scheduled from 7am, 12nn, and 6pm. Its stopovers (north bound) are in NAIA Terminal 2, NAIA Terminal 1, Baclaran Church, Raon Overpass in Quiapo, Welcome Rotunda, Jollibee Philcoa, Mercury Drug Tandang Sora, Sandiganbayan, and Robinson’s Commonwealth.
On the other hand, the stopovers (south bound) are in Robinson’s Commonwealth, overpass fronting St Peter’s Church, McDonald’s Tandang Sora, Petron Philcoa, DILG Building, Welcome Rotunda, UST Main Gate, Quiapo Church, Baclaran Church, NAIA Terminal 1, and NAIA Terminal 2.
For NCR 2, the route will be from NAIA Terminal 3 to Monumento and vice versa with trips scheduled from 7am, 12nn, and 6pm. Its stopovers (north bound) are in NAIA Terminal 2, NAIA Terminal 1, Shell Ayala, Guadalupe Market, SM Megamall, Farmers Plaza Cubao, Centris, Trinoma Mall, Shell Balintawak, and Mercury Drug Monumento.
On the other hand, the stopovers (south bound) are in Mercury Drug Monumento, Puregold Balintawak, Trinoma MRT, McDonald’s Quezon Avenue, DLTB Bus Station, Starmall Shaw, Loyola Guadalupe, Dusit Thani Makati, NAIA Terminal 1, and NAIA Terminal 2. – With Gerard Naval, Noel Talacay and Christian Oineza