Trillanes: Lift Luzon-wide PUV ban; treat drivers, conductors as frontliners
MANILA, Philippines — Former Senator Antonio Trillanes IV on Wednesday recommended that the suspension on public transport in Luzon be lifted by the government as the region undergoes enhanced community quarantine.
Trillanes made this suggestion as he also listed other recommendations on how the government should address the growing concerns on the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
“Lift the ban on PUVs and treat drivers and conductors as frontliners essential to the delivery of public services. Provide them with personal protective equipment,” he said in a statement.
The former lawmaker acknowledged that there have been “laudable moves” by the government in the fight against the disease, but added that there were “inadequacies” in the quarantine policy “as it penalizes rather than incentivizes proper behavior at this time.”
“This could even exacerbate the problem as it fails to provide for alternatives to the poor,” he said.
Aside from the suggestion to lift the suspension on public transport, Trillanes also called on the government to prepare schools near hospitals or makeshift medical tents as possible isolation areas for patients who tested positive for the disease, should the number of infected individuals increase beyond the capacity of hospitals.
He added that nursing students and unemployed nursing graduates should also be mobilized to work with pay as nursing assistants in public and private hospitals at government expense.
On the matter of the economy, Trillanes advised that the government should prepare P500 billion worth of economic stimulus package for industries and small and medium enterprises heavily affected by the pandemic. He said this should include bailouts, tax relief, and cash dole-outs to workers.
Grants should likewise be given to employers who have provided paid leaves to their employees, according to the former senator.
Trillanes also said that P200 billion of the current budget for infrastructure should be realigned to expand the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program to aid poor Filipino families who were most affected by the crisis.
Government should also distribute vouchers for groceries to affected daily wage earners, and coordinate with banks for a one-month moratorium on loan amortizations, according to him.
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