Frontliners now exempted from ‘modified number coding scheme’

When Metro Manila switches from enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) to general community quarantine (GCQ), which is slated to happen on June 1, a new “modified number coding scheme” for travel will be implemented as well. Prior to this, it was said that frontliners will not be exempted from this but the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) clarified that they will be.

MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia reversed his first statement. He clarified that the modified number coding scheme will allow healthcare workers to use their coded-vehicles without being arrested.

He urged the frontliners to maximize carpooling, as long as it is within the standards set by the Department of Health (DOH).

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto slammed government officials who kept releasing confusing traffic “rules” that aren’t up for implementation yet. He said these ambiguous remarks only lead to a different kind of GCQ — “general confusion and questions.”

Garcia explained the rules on the modified scheme. He said that if a private car is coding on that day, it is only allowed to travel on the roads if there are two or more people in the car. On non-coding days, cars may be used freely.

He also said the proposal of 17 Metro Manila mayors on Tuesday to implement the new coding scheme is the local government units’ answer to the limited operation of public transportation.

“Kung Monday, bawal ang 1 and 2 kung mag-isa ka lang. Kung dalawa kayo, iyun ang incentive na pwede niyo ilabas. It’s better than hindi mo pwede gamitin totally,” he said.

Since mass transportation is still limited during GCQ, Garcia hopes that the use of private cars will help fill the gap. MMDA wants buses and jeeps to not operate for two more weeks even when GCQ is implemented. Only shuttles of private companies, transport network vehicle services such as GrabCar, taxis, tricycles, and point-to-point buses will be allowed for those who need to travel to work.

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