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Ban on public transport stays in MECQ areas

/ 05:40 AM May 15, 2020

The ban on public transport stays in Metro Manila, Laguna and Cebu City, which remain under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from May 16 to 31, Malacañang said on Thursday.

“We want to restart the economy, but not at the expense of having a second wave [of new coronavirus cases],” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said.

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Under MECQ, some businesses are allowed to resume operations although public transport will remain restricted.

Only public shuttles, personal vehicles, company shuttles, bicycles, motorcycles and e-scooters with only one rider will be allowed on roads and highways.

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Some business groups have appealed the ban on public transport, saying most of their workers do not have their own vehicles and that coming up with company shuttles to ferry them would add to the cost of doing business.

But Roque said companies in MECQ areas that could not ferry all their employees to work should consider remaining closed a little longer.“Maybe they should not reopen for now. It is more important to avoid a second wave,” he said.

The Palace official reiterated that workers in community quarantine areas would be allowed to cross borders as long as they work in permitted sectors and had an employment certificate, a company ID and IDs that show their place of residence. Nonessential travel remains prohibited in all community quarantine areas, and a clearance from local government units is needed for interzonal travel.

And while media outfits in MECQ areas can resume operations at 100-percent capacity, provided safety and health protocols are complied with, Roque said the general rule remained that “if work from home is possible, they should work from home.”

Roque also reminded taxpayers to file their income tax returns before the June 14 deadline since certified public accountants can still render services while working from home.

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TAGS: COVID-19 Philippines, Harry Roque, MECQ, Metro Manila, pandemic, Public Transport, Transportation
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