Palace not keen on letting tricycles operate during Luzon quarantine
MANILA, Philippines — Citing the lack of space for social distancing, Malacañang on Wednesday night thumbed down calls to allow tricycles to continue ferrying passengers and goods during the implementation of an enhanced community quarantine over Luzon.
According to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, local government units (LGUs) should provide other modes of transportation such as jeepneys for health workers and residents who are in need of medical assistance.
He said that tricycles, due to its limited space, might cause further transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
“The government is really concerned about the use of tricycles because we can’t really see how you can do social distancing in a tricycle,” Nograles, speaking in Filipino, said in a late-night press briefing.
“Number two, if that’s the concern of LGUs, the LGUs can push initiatives with regard to vehicles that won’t need to use tricycles. LGUs have the resources that will allow them to use other means of transportation,” he added.
Calls to allow tricycle operations surfaced after strict home quarantine was enforced and public transportation was suspended in Luzon in light of President Duterte’s declaration of an enhanced community quarantine on Tuesday.
Sen. Francis Tolentino, chair of Senate local government committee, appealed to Interior Secretary Eduardo Año to allow tricycle to operate to serve residents goING out to buy basic necessities.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, meanwhile, allowed tricycles for health workers and those exempted from the travel restriction under the quarantine.
But Nograles urged LGUs to follow the government’s quarantine protocols to prevent the escalation of the COVID-19 crisis in the country.
“Let’s all stick to the common ground rules. It’s based on a purpose. We don’t want your constituents to get the virus from each other,” he said.
Duterte placed Luzon under isolation amid the increasing cases of COVID-19, which has so far infected 202 people and killed 17 in the country.
He also declared a state of calamity in the entire Philippines for six months in a bid to further curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
Globally, COVID-19 has infected over 180,000 people in more than 150 countries and territories.
The International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses named the virus that causes COVID-19 as SARS-CoV-2. It is believed to have first jumped from an animal host to humans in Wuhan, China.
The virus, the spread of which the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic, causes mild symptoms such as fever and cough for most people, but according to experts, older adults with preexisting health conditions, particularly those aged over 60, are more vulnerable.
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