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Drivers upset as LTFRB clarifies plastic barriers not mandatory in jeepneys

Several jeepney drivers lamented the declaration that the installation of plastic barriers to enforce physical distancing inside jeepneys is not  actually mandatory.

“Para kaming ginagago. Ikakabit namin tapos tatanggalin namin. Kami rin magtatanggal,” a driver said in Katrina Son’s report on “24 Oras” on Monday.

“‘Di naman pala kailangan e di hindi ka na gagastos. Sayang pa ‘yong pera,” another driver said.

This came after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) on Saturday clarified that the installation of such barriers was not a government policy.

The LTFRB issued the clarification as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) pushed through with the relaxation of physical distancing inside public transport vehicles.

“I would just like to clarify na ‘yong policy na binaba po ng DOTr at LTFRB patungkol sa plastic barriers, this is actually in relation to the plastic barrier that separates the driver from the passengers. So wala pong official statement ang LTFRB, DOTr or event the IATF regarding doon sa plastic barriers between passengers,” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said.

Delgra, however, said that if the plastic barriers are helpful in preventing the spread of COVID-19, then operators should keep them up.

Rando Vera, a jeepney driver, said he will keep the plastic barriers.

“Kung may sumakay na may sakit, baka mahawa ‘yong katabi. Eh kung may ganiyang harang, ‘di nahawa,” Vera said.

Starting September 14, the DOTr will be enforcing a reduced physical distance among passengers inside public transport.

The DOTr said that from one meter, physical distancing will be optimized to 0.75 meters beginning Monday, before further reducing it to 0.5 meters after two weeks, and to 0.3 meters after another two weeks.

For Class 2 modern public utility vehicles and public utility buses, optimizing the physical distance between passengers inside the vehicles will mean that standing passengers may be accommodated. — Ma. Angelica Garcia/BM, GMA News