June 06, 2020 – Eight out of ten Filipinos complained of lack of public transportation during the long period the country was placed under lockdown to prevent the spread of the fatal coronavirus, an independent survey said.
While restrictions have been eased a bit starting this month, authorities still prohibit motorcycles from taking in an extra rider, even a family member or a relative.
A Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey showed about 77 percent of Filipino families had suffered from the suspension of public transportation during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), which was enacted from mid-March to mid-May.
The non-commissioned poll was conducted from May 4 to 10 using mobile and online interviews of 4,010 Filipinos. At that time, public transportation such as trains, buses, jeeps and tricycles were not allowed to operate under quarantine rules.
However, select industries were allowed to go back to work. This includes the health, agriculture, manufacturing, finance, utilities, and food services.
This restriction was a greater burden to 47 percent of Filipino families that do not own any vehicle, the SWS said.
Among the households that did own vehicles, those who rode bicycles (77%), tricycles (75%), and motorbikes (71%) said they suffered more with the suspension of public transport compared to those who have cars (54%).
NO BACK RIDING
The burden on transportation proved to be greater for commuters as the government eased restrictions starting this month, allowing more employees to go back to work.
However, public transportation remained limited as the MRT, LRT-1, and LRT-2 were only allowed up to 12-14 percent capacity. Select buses were only allowed to ply select routes.
Despite pleas from several provinces, such as Cavite, Rizal, and Cebu, to let motorcycles carry passengers–at the very least the driver’s relatives–the government put its foot down.
Interior Secretary Eduardo Año explained that backriding could spread the coronavirus further, as it does not follow rules for physical and social distancing.
“Ang virus walang pinipili, kaya dapat pati sa bahay may distancing,” Año said in a briefing aired on Friday, “Hindi guarantee na parehas kayong negative. Pag-uwi galing opisina, the next day napunta sa kabilang opisina yung nahawa.” (Katrina Elaine Alba/MM)
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