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Palace: Commuter woes heard, but public transpo can't fully resume yet

Malacañang on Sunday said it cannot allow the resumption of all modes of transportation back in the streets, even as it claimed it heard sentiments of commuters who need more options.

In a statement, Malacañang defended the resumption of public transportation under a "gradual, calibrated, and partial" approach under two phases.

"We have to consider, however, that Metro Manila is still under General Community Quarantine; thus, the threat of COVID-19 still exists and is real," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr.

"At this juncture, we still cannot let all modes of transportation to be on the streets. This will defeat the purpose of quarantine. Unless a vaccine or cure is available, we must not let our guards down," he added.

The gradual resumption of public transportation will be made in two phases, with the first phase from June 1 to 21, allowing trains and bus augmentation, taxis, transport network vehicle services, shuttle services, point-to-point buses, and bicycles.

Tricycles are allowed subject to the approval of concerned local government units, while provincial buses are still barred from entering and exiting Metro Manila during the period.

Meanwhile, the second phase will cover June 22 to 30, allowing public utility buses, modern public utility vehicles (PUVs) or jeepneys, and UV Express vehicles.

Commuters then had difficulties in getting to work on time, given the limited options for public transportation. Some were forced to walk kilometers to reach their workplaces.

"We heard the sentiments and understood the predicament of workers commuting from their places of residence to their workplaces and vice-versa when we reopened the economy," claimed Roque.

According to Malacañang, there have already been 28 point-to-point routesin place with 268 buses to increase modes of transportation available from peripheral areas such as Alabang, Bacoor, Bulacan, and Antipolo.

It also said there have been some 31,700 taxis and transport network vehicle services (TNVS) deployed, and free rides for health workers and medical frontliners.

"Daily assessments are done on the transportation sector. The government is trying to do more in order to help everyone. We also reiterate our appeal to the private sector to provide shuttle services to their employees," said Roque.

"What the administration is doing is balancing the need to revitalize the economy so that we can have livelihood and jobs while looking out for and protecting the health and safety of the public as well," he added. —LBG, GMA News