Bayan Muna party-list Representative Ferdinand Gaite on Thursday supported the call of Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto to exempt tricycles in the ban on public transportation amid the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.
In a statement, Gaite said there should still be limited tricycle operations to continue providing services to frontliners and exempted employees as well as those in need of medical services.
"We have health workers—our frontliners, employees of exempted businesses, and people going out to purchase essential needs walking several kilometers everyday, for several days now, just to get to the main roads where they can access government-sanctioned transportation services. Also add to that, people going out for needed medical services like dialysis and scheduled checkups, as what Mayor Sotto mentioned," he said.
"This total shutdown of accessible public transportation could be doing the public more harm than good. A little leniency on this aspect could help us all effectively cope with the lockdown," he added.
Gaite said special arrangements could be made to allow tricycle service while maintaining social distancing and other health measures imposed under the enhanced community quarantine.
Until the national government can provide alternatives to the transportation problems brought about by the enhanced community quarantine, local governments must be allowed to act and address the gap, he added.
"Limited operation for tricycles would help ease the burden of our kababayans in this already difficult situation. Let our tricycle drivers offer their services to the nurses reporting to the frontlines, or those needing medical services, or those needing essential supplies and goods. I'm sure there would be a way to work this out," Gaite said.
Sotto had allowed tricycles in Pasig to ply their routes to ferry health workers and emergency patients to hospitals in the city.
He said tricycle trips would be subject to protocols set by local authorities such as limiting the number of passengers per vehicle consistent with social distancing rules.
Both the Palace and the Department of the Interior and Local Government have rebuffed Sotto's appeal, saying the local executive should find other ways to ferry peoplewithout sacrificing social distancing. -MDM, GMA News