CHR: Rethink plan to ban seniors, pregnant women from LRT, MRT
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Friday said the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) proposal to ban elderly and pregnant women from taking the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and the Light Rail Transit (LRT) once Metro Manila is placed under general community quarantine may inadvertently lead to “acts of discrimination.”
In a statement, CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit appealed to the DOTr to reconsider the plan, saying barring such passengers would restrict their mobility when going out to report for work or buy essential goods and services—two activities permitted under general community quarantine (GCQ) protocols.
“We appeal to the Department of Transportation to revisit this policy. Apart from its inconsistency with the GCQ protocol allowing older people to go out for work and to obtain essential goods and services, it also potentially violates their rights to health and to work,” Dumpit said.
Acts of discrimination
“This policy, as benign as its justification may be, may result in individual acts of discrimination,” said Dumpit, the commissioner focusing on the rights of women and the elderly.
Instead of banning them, she said, the DOTr may just designate train cars exclusively for older persons and pregnant women.
“We also recommend the strict implementation of priority lanes to provide them relief and to lessen their waiting time. This also means lesser risk of exposure to a big crowd,’’ she said.
Under GCQ protocols, older persons, or those 60 years and older should remain in their residences at all times, “except when indispensable under the circumstances for obtaining essential goods and services or for work in permitted industries and offices.”
“We believe that the strict implementation of physical distancing and hygiene protocols in the MRT and LRT are sufficient to lower the risk of infection not only for older people and pregnant women, but for everyone regardless of age and circumstance,” Dumpit said. —Patricia Denise M. Chiu
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.