Davao City mayor stands by order allowing trikes, taxis on road
DAVAO CITY, Davao del Sur, Philippines — Mayor Sara Duterte is standing by her decision to allow taxis and tricycles on the road even as she placed the city under a 15-day enhanced community quarantine beginning 9 p.m of April 4 to check the rising cases of new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Duterte, daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, said she was ready to face an investigation from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the National Bureau of Investigation.
Another city mayor, Vico Sotto of Pasig, was earlier put on a tight spot after he allowed tricycles to ply their routes to service medical front-liners and those who attend to emergencies during the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila.
Sotto later withdrew his order and heeded the DILG directive banning public transport in localities after the national government rejected his plea for a limited run of tricycles. Still, the NBI sent Sotto a letter last week asking him to explain his earlier order.
In imposing stricter quarantine measures in Davao City, Mayor Duterte banned jeepneys from plying their routes but allowed taxis and tricycles, provided these carry a maximum of only two passengers in compliance with the “physical distancing” measure.
The rule also applies to private vehicles. Motorbikes and bicycles, however, can only carry the driver.
With fewer options for public transport, the city government has fielded buses for free rides, especially for medical front-liners.
Had the local government banned taxis and tricycles, Duterte said, “we will be caught in an absurd situation where people who own vehicles can easily move around and the general public will resort to walking more than 20 kilometers just to buy food and other basic necessities.”
She said she based her order on a March 21 memorandum circular of the DILG, stating that “transportation should also be provided by local government units for those seeking to avail of … basic services, such as those needing to go to the hospital or clinics, or those who have limited access to establishments providing basic necessities.”
“Many of us have our own vehicles. But far too many don’t have [one]—they are dependent on jeepneys, vans, tricycles. It is not right to have them walk just because they don’t have their own vehicles,” Duterte said. “It [decision] is based on general welfare and justice for people who do not have private vehicles.”
Davao City has an area of more than 2,400 square kilometers and a population of 1.6 million. Some 400,000 people were issued passes during the community quarantine period, allowing them to leave their homes to buy food, medicines and other basic goods within a 12-hour window, or from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As of April 7, the city had recorded 65 COVID-19 cases, 20 of whom had recovered. Twelve had died.
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