Robredo on easing of distancing rule inside PUVs: Nakabase ba ito sa siyensa?
MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Sunday questioned the scientific basis of the government’s decision to allow the easing of physical distancing inside public utility vehicles (PUVs).
“Iyong sa akin lang, nakabase ba ito sa siyensiya?” Robredo said during her weekly radio program.
“Masaya tayo na iyong public transport, magkakaroon na ng mas marami, kasi ang dami na talagang nagtitiis—hindi lang iyong mga drivers, pero pati iyong mga pasahero. Pero sana nakabase pa din sa siyensiya iyong pagdedesisyon,” she added.
Last week, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Disease approved the proposal of the Economic Development Cluster (EDC) and the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) to gradually reduce the required physical distance between passengers from 0.75 meters starting Monday, Sept. 14, to 0.5 meter to 0.3 meter within the succeeding weeks.
In a statement, Transport Secretary Arthur Tugado said the DOTr had explained during a presentation to the IATF that with strict health protocols against COVID-19 such as the mandatory use of face masks and face shields by commuters, the one-meter physical distancing measure can be safely adjusted to allow increased ridership in public transport.
But Robredo pointed out that the World Health Organization (WHO) is still recommending a one-meter distance between individuals.
“Iyong binigay sa atin ng WHO na standard…one-meter na distance. Pero hindi ko alam kung anong naging basehan ng DOTr para i-allow iyong mas maliit diyan. Noong nabasa ko iyong balita kahapon, naghahanap ako ng datos na nagsasabi na okay iyong less than one meter, pero wala akong nahanap. So hindi natin alam kung ano iyong basis ng DOTr,” she said.
“Hindi natin alam kung ano iyong basis ng IATF. Siguro hintayin natin, hintayin natin kung ano iyong naging basehan. Pero again, may ibang paraan na hindi nasusugal iyong kalusugan,” she added.
The government could instead consider “service contracting” of vehicles to ferry passengers and to help drivers who lost their source of income during the pandemic.
“May ibang mas epektibong paraan. Gawin na lang sanang service contracting…Sana gawing service contracting na lang muna iyong mga public transportation. Bayaran sila, hindi nakabase sa ilang pasahero ang nakasakay,” she said.
“Kasi kapag nakabase sa ilang pasahero ang nakasakay, parating maghahabol ng boundary iyon. So sana hindi na muna boundary system. Sana service contracting, para mas madali ma-impose iyong social distancing,” she explained.
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