Employers group asks IATF to provide decent transport service to commuting workers

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) has asked the Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 to provide decent transport service to employees or workers whose employers cannot afford them shuttle service to their workplaces. 

Days after the national government eased quarantine restrictions to general community quarantine (GCQ), still hundreds of workers struggle to get a ride to work due to the limited number of transport vehicles as well as the limited capacity in mass transport service in consideration to the social distancing protocols to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In an interview on the program Get It Straight with Daniel Razon, ECOP President Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr. said that although they acknowledged that companies have the obligation to provide their employees with transport service under the guidelines of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), there are small scale businesses that cannot provide their workers with such service due to their limited resources.

Given such a situation, their workers are the ones who suffer waiting for long hours for a chance to get a ride to work and back home. 

This prompted ECOP to suggest to the government to provide bus units to workers whose companies are unable to provide them company service. 

Ang bus companies na naka-standby lang naman iyan [Bus companies are just on stand by, anyway],” Ortiz-Luis said.

“Mag-assign ka. Kung gusto nyong ma-control, lagyan ninyo ng pulis lahat ng sasakyan. Sana naiwasan hirap ng nga tao, [Assign some units. If you want control, deploy a cop in each of the bus units. That could ha ve eased the commuters their burden],” he added.

ECOP also noted that the work-from-home scheme may not apply to all employees and their nature of work, that’s why it is inevitable that a number of workers still need to come to their workplaces. 

The employers group appealed to IATF to come up with a concrete plan as to how it will support all concerned workers. 

“Kapag sinabi mo na itong one million, these can go to work now, dapat i-anticipate paano sila papasok, [If you say that these one million can go back to work now, anticipate how they will be able to do so],” Ortiz-Luis said addressing his statement to the IATF.

“Tulungan mo hindi iyong bahala na sila sa buhay nila, [Help them. Do not abandon them],” he added. MNP (with details from Joan Nano)

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