The Department of Transportation is reverting to the one-meter physical distancing on public transportation days after the implementation of reduced social distancing should have been implemented on Monday, September 14.
Undated stock photo taken prior to COVID-19 pandemic
It was said in a previous story that the DOTr released a memorandum that allows the decrease of physical distancing in public transportation from 1 meter to 0.75 meters.
However, President Rodrigo Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque said in a televised briefing, “Pansamantalang isususpinde ang implementasyon ng 0.75 [meter] na distancing sa mga pampublikong transportasyon at ibabalik po ito sa sa one meter.”
Roque said that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade made the announcement during the meeting of Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) on Thursday.
Roque said Tugade did not want to pressure the President to come up with a decision “as if he is duty-bound to make it within a period of time.”
“Kung i-implement ‘yan parang it becomes urgent, the President must act on it right away. So sabi niya, ‘to give the President all the time that he needs to study the matter, balik muna tayo sa one meter and until he says so we will not implement the 0.75,’” Roque added.
Some medical experts and government officials were against the memorandum, arguing it could cause a spike in COVID-19 cases.
The Metro Manila Council, consisting of the mayors in the National Capital Region (NCR), said that it wasn’t consulted by the DOTr regarding this implementation.
On the other hand, some experts, including former Health secretaries Manuel Dayrit and Esperanza Cabral, said evidence from several studies support the gradual reduction of social distancing inside public transportation vehicles.
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