Transport exec says no need for commute challenge, acknowledges plight of commuters
An official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Wednesday brushed off the challenge of Senator Nancy Binay for transportation officials to commute and experience the ordeal faced by commuters amid the general community quarantine (GCQ).
“Unang una po doon sa hamon ni Senator Binay, ang masasabi po namin diyan hindi naman po namin kailangan na hamunin kami para mag-commute,” Transportation Assistant Secretary Goddess Hope Libiran said in an interview on Dobol B sa News TV.
Libiran noted that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has been taking regular commutes before the crisis to experience firsthand the daily challenges of commuters.
Binay, on Tuesday, dared transportation officials to ditch the comforts of their personal cars and try commuting from their homes to office.
“Dapat maramdaman nila ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga commuter. They won't be able to plan well if they don't feel and understand the people's daily struggles," the senator said.
Libiran said the DOTr recognizes that the shift to GCQ in Metro Manila and other areas has been a challenge for the commuting public due to the limited number of modes of public transportation to service passengers.
“Marami pong nagrereklamo na kulang ‘yung public transportation sa unang araw ng GCQ, hindi naman namin dine-deny 'yon,” she said.
“Talaga hong kulang dahil talagang nilimitahan ng gobyerno ang galaw ng mga tao sa ilalim ng general community quarantine,” she added.
The DOTr earlier said that public transportation would resume under GCQ in two phases.
Under Phase 1, which will run from June 1 to 21, only trains, augmentation buses, taxis, transport network vehicle services, shuttle services, point-to-point buses, and bicycles will be allowed to operate on a limited capacity. The operation of tricycles under this phase is subject to the approval of local government units.
Under Phase 2, from June 22 to 30, public utility buses, modern public utility vehicles or jeepneys, and UV Express will be allowed to operate on a limited capacity.
Libiran said the DOTr is implementing a gradual resumption of public transportation under GCQ to remind the public that the threat of COVID-19 is still present.
“Ayaw po kasi natin sa isang iglap ay payagan natin na lahat ng sasakyan na lumabas kasi ayaw naman natin isipin o tumatak sa mga tao na maaari na silang lumabas o bumiyahe kelan man nila naisin,” she said.
“Kapag po kasi lahat ng pampublikong transportasyon ay pinayagang bumiyahe, mabibigyan po ang tao ng maling perception o impression na pwede na silang lumabas at pumunta kung saan man nila gusto. Kapag nangyari po ‘to mababalewala ang pinaghirapan natin ng tatlong buwan. Tandaan po natin tayo po ay nakapailalim sa general community quarantine,” she emphasized.
The DOTr official said public transportation can be a “vector” of transmission of COVID-19.
Nevertheless, Libiran assured the public that DOTr is listening to the complaints of commuters and is seriously assessing the situation to gather enough data to better implement the “gradual, calibrated, and partial resumption of public transportation.”—AOL, GMA News