House panel backs return of motorcycle taxi ops in GCQ areas
MANILA, Philippines — The House committee on transportation has endorsed the resumption of operations of motorcycle taxis in Metro Manila during general community quarantine (GCQ) in a move to augment public transportation in the nation’s capital region.
The committee made the recommendation to the Department of Transportation (DoTr) and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) to allow the resumption of operations of motorcycle-hailing services such as Angkas as long as they follow health and safety protocols.
Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, who chairs the transportation committee, said the move would help ease the burden of the commuting public.
Sarmiento said committee members favor the use of the motorcycle taxis since it has lesser risk of multiple transmission because one motorcycle can only accommodate one passenger.
Contact tracing is also easier because all bookings are automatically logged into the system of the ride-hailing mobile app, said Sarmiento.
“The panel sees the importance of providing accessible public transport now that we are back to GCQ and many members of the committee feel that our motorcycle taxis could fill the gap in our prevailing transportation vacuum due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Sarmiento said in a statement.
Sarmiento, however, underscored that strict health and safety protocols must be observed such as the mandatory wearing of face shields.
The lawmaker added that riders must be well covered from head-to-toe while passenger helmets must be disinfected after each use and must be also equipped with replaceable headcovers.
As an added precaution, Sarmiento said that riders should also be required to undergo COVID-19 testing and be certified as coronavirus-free before they are allowed on the road.
Passengers on the other hand should fill up an online contact-tracing form before they are allowed to book a ride, Sarmiento added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has placed Metro Manila, as well as the provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal, and Bulacan, under GCQ from Aug. 19 to 31 after a two-week reimposition of a stricter modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) which banned the operations of motorcycle taxis.
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