Tugade: Transport woes during GCQ temporary
MANILA, Philippines — Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Tuesday assured the public that the transportation woes that greeted Metro Manila commuters on the first day of the less restrictive general community quarantine (GCQ) were only “temporary.”
Thousands of commuters, mostly workers in Metro Manila returning to their jobs, were stranded Monday due to limited public transportation.
On the first day of GCQ, only rail lines and bus augmentation units, taxis, transport network vehicle services (TNVS), shuttle services, point-to-point buses and bicycles were allowed to travel although in a limited capacity.
Jeepneys and UV Express vehicles, the most viable modes of transportation in the capital region, will only be allowed to resume operations starting June 22, when the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) second phase of public transportation resumption starts.
But Tugade insisted that everyone was “inconvenienced” by the changes in public transport due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He also assured the public that the government has concrete plans when it relaxed the two-month-long strict lockdown measures and is not “sacrificing” the people just to revive the economy.
“Ang pakiusap ko lang ay magkapit-bisig tayo at intindihin natin iyong estado/sitwasyon, sapagkat itong inconvenience na ito sa aking pananaw at sa aking paniniwala ay temporary lamang,” Tugade said in a televised Palace briefing.
(My only request is that we hold hands and understand our current situation because this inconvenience in my view and my belief is only temporary.)
“Mapapalitan ho ito ng tinatawag natin na long lasting convenience and connectivity and mobility of people. Ako po ay nakikiusap na dapat magkaintindihan tayo, dapat magkapit-bisig,” he added.
(It will be replaced by what we call the long-lasting convenience and connectivity and mobility of people. I implore that we should understand, we must hold hands.)
The situation on the morning of Day 1 of the GCQ prompted the military and the police to deploy trucks to ferry stranded commuters.
However, metro dwellers were seen violating physical distancing protocols as they desperately crowd out the vehicles.
But Tugade said the incident was just a failure in implementation which can be avoided.
“Basta ginamit iyong modality of transport, social distancing must be observed. Kung may mga nangyayaring ganiyan, hindi ho iyan resulta ng pagpayag but resulta ho ng tinatawag nating failure of implementation at kailangan lang i-correct,” he said.
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