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It’s final: 1-meter social distancing in public transportation stays

By: - Reporter / @KHallareINQ
/ 09:45 AM September 19, 2020

PASSENGER PROTECTION Plastic dividers separate passengers on this jeep about to leave the Tandang Sora jeepney terminal in Quezon City. The dividers are set 1 meter apart but the Department of Transportation earlier proposed that separation would be reduced to 0.3 meter. INQUIRER file photo / GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has decided that the one-meter physical distance rule in public transportation will remain in effect, Palace spokesman Harry Roque announced Saturday.

“Nag-desisyon na po ang Presidente kahapon. Ang desisyon po ng Presidente, mananatili po ang one-meter social distancing sa pampublikong transportasyon,” Roque said in an interview aired on state-run PTV.

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(The President already made a decision yesterday. The decision of the President is that the one-meter social distancing in public transportation will remain in effect.)

“Panatilihin po muna ang one-meter social distancing na sasamahan ng pag-suot ng mask, ng face shield, bawal po ang salita at bawal po ang pagkain at pagsa-sanitize ng pampublikong transportasyon,” he added.

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(Let us maintain one-meter social distancing with wearing of face mask, face shield, you cannot talk or eat, as well as sanitizing public transportation.)

This comes after the Department of Transportation (DOTr) pushed to reduce physical distancing among passengers in public utility vehicles in a bid to help the public transport sector recover.

The reduction in physical distancing was approved and supported by the National Task Force Against COVID-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease, according to Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

It was in mid-March until June that most of public transportation was suspended due to lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the proposal was met with opposition from Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who are part of the IATF, during a meeting of the group with Duterte on Monday, Sept. 14.

The Metro Manila Council also said that its members, composed of the 17 Metro Manila mayors, were not consulted on the matter.

Tugade, meanwhile, defended the DOTr’s move, saying that it was not a product of a “knee-jerk reaction” but was a product of “research and simulation.”

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To date, the Philippines’ COVID-19 cases are at 279,526, with 208,790 recoveries and 4,830 deaths.

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TAGS: Harry Roque, pandemic, public transportation, Rodrigo Duterte, social distancing
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