DOTr to ‘aggressively comply’ with Duterte decision to retain 1-meter distancing in PUVs
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Saturday said that it will “aggressively comply” with President Rodrigo Duterte’s decision to maintain the one-meter physical distance among passengers in public utility vehicles (PUVs).
“The President has spoken. We shall aggressively comply and strictly enforce the 1-meter physical distancing in all public transport as envisioned and mandated,” the DOTr said in a statement.
It was on Saturday that Palace spokesman Harry Roque announced Duterte’s final word on the matter whether or not physical distancing in public transportation should be reduced.
“Nag-desisyon na po ang Presidente kahapon. Ang desisyon po ng Presidente, mananatili po ang one-meter social distancing sa pampublikong transportasyon,” Roque announced over state-run PTV.
(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.)
The DOTr originally pushed to reduce distancing among passengers, with Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade claiming that National Task Force against COVID-19 and the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease backed the move.
Under the proposal, distancing among passengers in PUVs will be reduced to 0.75 meter from one meter, which is recommended by the World Health Organization.
The new social distancing rule was implemented on Monday, Sept. 14, but was later suspended as Duterte was expected to decide on the matter.
Even medical experts warned that reducing the prescribed physical distance among commuters may lead to further COVID-19 transmission.
As of Sept. 18, the Philippines has 279,526 COVID-19 cases, with 208,790 recoveries and 4,830 deaths.
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