‘Outdated’: DOTr official debunks claims about public transportation under ECQ

August 3, 2021 - 3:44 PM
DOTR-MRT3 social distancing
Commuters inside the Metro Rail Transit-Line 3 where barriers are in place to enforce physical distancing measures against the spread of COVID-19. (Photo from DOTR-MRT3 via Facebook)

An official of the transportation department debunked online claims that public transportation will be suspended under the upcoming enhanced community quarantine to be imposed on Metro Manila.

Assistant Secretary Goddes Libiran of the Department of Transportation‘s Communications and Commuter Affairs shared an outdated infographic taking note of the public utility vehicles and their supposed availability in different community quarantines.

The infographic said that railways, buses, jeepneys and taxis, among others, will be suspended under the strictest quarantine status.

It also added that electronic scooters, motorcycles and bicycles won’t be allowed in ECQ as well.

Libiran marked the infographic as “outdated” and clarified that there is still public transportation in the latest ECQ to be implemented on August 6 to 20.

“This attached infographic was released last year during ECQ / MECQ. Currently, based on the latest Omnibus Guidelines from the IATF, Public Transport will be allowed during ECQ. Capacity shall be determined by the DOTr,” she said in a Facebook post.

“Per Sec. Art Tugade last Saturday, 30 July 2021, the initial recommendation of the DOTr sectors is to retain the current supply and capacity of public transportation, subject to the approval of the IATF. Active transport will highly be encouraged,” Libiran added.

She said the DOTr will release an updated infographic once everything has been finalized.

“Restrictions will be applied on passengers—i.e., stricter enforcement to ensure that only APORs are permitted to use public transport, as mandated by the IATF. An updated infographic for ECQ areas will be given once everything is finalized,” Libiran noted.

Metro Manila will be under ECQ starting Friday in a bid to curb the transmission of COVID-19 amid the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant.

According to the Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine as of May 21, “the road, rail, maritime, and aviation sectors of public transportation shall be allowed to operate at such capacity and protocols” under ECQ.

Additional guidelines shall be issued by DOTr, it added.

Libiran in another report said the agency recommended retaining the current supply and capacity of public transport during the hard lockdown.

She added that restrictions will be applied on passengers like stricter reinforcement to ensure that only authorized persons outside of their residence (APOR) will use public transport.

“But, whatever the decision of IATF will be, we will abide,” Libiran was quoted as saying.

When ECQ was first implemented on NCR from March to May last year, public transportation was suspended.

It resumed at limited capacity when the capital region was once again placed on hard lockdown from March to April of this year.

ALSO READ: August 2021 ECQ guidelines: What to expect as Metro Manila goes into lockdown