16 tricycles impounded in Manila for overcharging, distancing violations
MANILA, Philippines – Sixteen tricycles operating in Manila were ordered impounded on Monday after their drivers were accused of overcharging commuters and violating physical distancing protocols placed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), among others.
Manila Mayor Isko Moreno noted that some of the drivers operating in various parts like San Lazaro and Blumentritt areas in Sampaloc and in Pandacan were driving without a license.
Moreno allowed tricycles to operate again after Metro Manila shifted from an enhanced community quarantine to a less restrictive general community quarantine on June 1 to allow residents without their own vehicles to move around the city.
“We allowed you to operate out of concern for you because life is hard now,” Moreno, speaking in Filipino, said in a briefing, referring to the drivers. “But you were not given a license to take advantage of our fellow poor people. Always remember that those who ride tricycles are also poor.”
He also called out those ferrying two or more passengers in violation of the rule on physical distancing.
“We will protect the interest of the general public,” he said. “So I hope you have learned your lesson, you tricycle drivers, sidecar boys. Just be happy that you at least have some income.”
He pointed out that others in the transport business, like jeepney operators and drivers, were not yet allowed to operate to minimize the risk of COVID-19 infection.
“You should be thankful,” Moreno said. “Jeepney drivers are in a pitiful condition because they have no livelihood since the pandemic started. That is why pedicab drivers, tricycle drivers should be thankful — because if you didn’t have any income before, at least now you have something.”
He stressed that the minimum charge is P20 and P5 for every 500 meters over.
“So I cannot imagine why we still have some countrymen who are abusive,” he said.
According to the mayor, the move against abusive tricycle drivers was launched after concerned citizens complained of being charge a high fare.
Last June 4, Manila City Hall allowed tricycles to operate again provided that they would follow strict measures, such as the placement of plastic separators between the driver and the passenger, the availability of disinfectants, and the limitation of one passenger per tricycle.
Also, drivers and passengers must always wear face masks and maintain distance with each other as much as possible.
The strict health measures were implemented with Manila having a high number of COVID-19 patients — 1,634 as of this writing — one of the highest numbers in the National Capital Region.
Of that number, 1,043 cases are considered active while 108 have died and 483 have recovered.
Nationwide, the Department of Health has recorded a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 patients, which is now at 22,474, of whom 1,011 have died and 4,637 have recovered.
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