MMC recommends modified coding, continued suspension of bus, jeepney operations under GCQ

After unanimously agreeing to back the shift to GCQ on June 1
by Sharleen Banzon | May 27, 2020
PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño

As reported last night, all 17 mayors under the Metro Manila Council (MMC) have unanimously agreed to back the shift to general community quarantine (GCQ) on June 1. In line with this, the MMC has several recommendations it will be making to the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, in the event that the plan to put Metro Manila under GCQ next week pushes through.

The first is to continue the ban on public utility buses and jeepneys for at least two weeks. “Baka pwede, iwas muna tayo, because of health issues, sa bus and jeepney or modern jeep,” said Jojo Garcia, general manager of the Metro Manila Development Authority, during the press briefing last night.

“Case-to-case basis na lang, meaning huwag muna kasi mahirap i-control. Lalung-lalo na, may inaayos po ngayon ang DOTr, LTFRB, MMDA, and DPWH na yung bus natin ay binabago na yung mga ruta at ilalagay na sa left side para talagang ang mga bus natin ay wala nang traffic at dire-diretso na lang.

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Hindi naman pwede na dating gawi na two to three hours ka sa bus sa traffic—delikado po yun. That’s why in terms of PUVs, baka pwedeng wala munang bus and jeepney.”

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Forms of public transport that will be allowed to operate are transport network vehicle services and taxis, because the number of passengers inside will be easier to control. “Tricycle, pedicabs, basta huwag sa national road, yan pwede,” Garcia continued. He added that shuttles, whether private or government-provided, will also be allowed, as will point-to-point (P2P) buses, because passengers may be screened before they board the vehicle at the starting point of the route.

The second recommendation is to implement a modified coding in all cities within Metro Manila, including Makati: “Napag-usapan dun [in the meeting], magiging modified coding ang gagawin natin, meaning pwede kang lumabas kung coding ka, pero dapat dalawa kayo sa sasakyan para at least ma-maximize natin lahat ng kotseng lalabas.”

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Garcia stressed that the IATF and DOH guidelines on physical distancing in vehicles shall be followed. For private vehicles, each row may have only two occupants. Also, all occupants must be persons who are allowed to leave their residence in the first place: “Kung ikaw ay magsasakay, dapat ang sakay mo ay yung allowed ding lumabas.”

Frontliners, Garcia added, are not exempted from the modified coding scheme, although he said “there’s no such thing as absolute”: “Of course pag may emergency, yung mga enforcers natin, hindi naman literal yan eh. Pero sabi ko nga, wag nating abusuhin.”

UPDATE (May 27, 12:48pm): The MMDA has released a new statement saying that frontliners will be exempted from the modified coding scheme, if ever the measure is put into place. “The MMDA understands the plight of the medical frontliners so we want to assist them during this challenging time,” Garcia said. “We hope that by exempting them from the modified number coding scheme, we are helping to provide ease and convenience to their daily transport.” Here’s the full statement:

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Again, these are recommendations to be made by the MMC to the IATF at this point. Do you agree with these proposed measures?

For more of our stories on the ongoing crisis, click here. For the latest news and updates on COVID-19, check out reportr.world/covid-19.

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PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño
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