DOTr: Plastic dividers no longer required inside jeepneys
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said plastic barriers for separating passengers inside public utility vehicles (PUVs) were no longer required, admitting that its use was not backed by science.
“Drivers and operators can already remove them because there are no medical findings, based on our studies, that they can prevent the spread of COVID-19. Instead, the virus could stick to them,” said Assistant Transportation Secretary for road transport Mark Steven Pastor in a press conference on Friday.
However, the DOTr stressed that health safety measures would still be strictly implemented in all public transport. Since July 3, 2020, when jeepneys and buses were allowed to return to the streets through a gradual reopening of routes nationwide, PUV drivers had been using plastic barriers to separate passengers inside their units and to comply with the 50-percent capacity rule in public transport.
In September that year, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board chief Martin Delgra clarified that there was no official policy from his agency and the DOTr that required jeepneys to install plastic barriers inside their vehicles. He said that even the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases did not order the use of plastic barriers. However, he did not discourage jeepney drivers from using them. Doctors had long been recommending the removal of plastic barriers inside PUVs because they are useless without physical distancing.
In August, Philippine College of Physicians president Dr. Maricar Limpin said the virus might stick to the plastic and infect people.
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