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IATF may consider allowing jeepneys in GCQ areas if seats modified—Palace

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 04:15 PM May 30, 2020

FILE – A jeepney driver creates makeshift dividers out of juice boxes to enforce “social distancing” among his passengers, one of the precautionary measures being implemented by government and health officials against the novel coronavirus disease. —MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) may consider allowing jeepneys to be back in general community quarantine (GCQ) areas if they modify the seats so social distancing measures can still be observed, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said Saturday.

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During the Laging Handa online press briefing, Roque apologized to jeepney drivers and operators as they are currently not allowed to operate in GCQ areas as per latest IATF guidelines.

He then added that because of the jeepney’s design— where passengers are made to sit side by side and face other passengers in the opposite row — it will be hard to observe social distancing.

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“Eh ang mga jeepney po kasi, harapan so napakahirap magkaroon ng social distancing pero paga-aralan pa po yan naman po ‘yan dahil meron naman pong mga prototype na jeep kung saan every other seat ang kanilang nauupuan,” he said.

(Jeepneys are designed so passengers could sit face to face, so it will be hard to implement social distancing, but we are still studying because there is a jeepney prototype where it passengers could sit every other seat.)

“Kung lahat po ng jeepneys ay pu-pwedeng mabago yung kanilang upuan sa ganitong paraan, ay paga-aralan po yan ng IATF,” he added.

(If the jeepneys can modify their seats in a similar design, then may the IATF may study the possibility.)

This comes after transport group Pinagkaisang Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) said that it was set to hold a noise barrage to protest a memo by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) allowing only new jeepneys to return to the road.

The IATF previously recommended that old-model jeepneys will still be barred from plying on roads in GCQ areas starting June 1.

Areas set to be placed under GCQ — which were identified to high to moderate risk areas for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)—are Pangasinan, Region II, Region III, Region IV-A (Calabarzon), Metro Manila, Region VII, Zamboanga City, Davao City, Cebu City and Mandaue City.

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As of Friday, the Philippines’ COVID-19 cases shot up at 16,634 cases, of which 942 have died while 3,720 successfully recovered.

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TAGS: general community quarantine, Harry Roque, jeepney
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