PRRD OFFICIALS CLASH OVER REDUCED PHYSICAL DISTANCE IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Key officials of the Duterte government on Monday, September 14, found themselves airing different positions to the public over the transportation department’s move to reduce physical distancing in trains, buses, and other public vehicles.
One group, composed mainly of the government’s economic advisers, supported the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) easing of the required distance between commuters, from 1 meter to only 0.75 meters starting Monday.
The DOTr insisted that the policy – described as “optimizing physical distancing” measures – had been “based on scientific studies,’ such as the one by the International Union of Railways.
Backing the DOTr, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said last Saturday, September 13, that it was a “calibrated move” to help reopen the economy. He said, “additional health protocols” will be put in when we reduce physical distancing between commuters.
Like Nograles, Acting Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said last Friday, September 9, that the government’s economic development cluster signed and presented a joint position paper to the task force handling the pandemic “to further open up, safely and sufficiently, the public transportation system.”
But the Department of Health and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who is vice-chair of the Philippines’ coronavirus task force, did not agree with the DOTr’s latest move.