MANILA, Philippines – Tricycles and pedicabs are still prohibited from traversing national highways in all areas under general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) clarified on Friday.
The DILG said it issued the clarification following a consultation with Secretary Eduardo Año, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.
The statement follows Roque’s announcement on Thursday that tricycles and sidecars will be allowed on national highways to augment limited public transportation.
“Nililinaw po ng DILG na bawal pa rin ang tricycles at pedicabs sa national highways kahit pa nasa GCQ o MGCQ level na ang ilang lokalidad,” DILG spokesperson and Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.
“Bago pa man magsimula ang pandemya ng COVID-19 corona ay ipinagbabawal na ito ng batas para na rin sa kaligtasan ng publiko,” he added.
Aside from Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, the DILG previously issued Memorandum Circulars (MCs) 2020-036, 2020-004, 2011-68, and 2007-11 prohibiting the operation of tricycles and pedicabs on national roads and prescribing the operating conditions and franchising of tricycles.
Malaya said that only road clearing operations are suspended due to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, and that the power to prohibit tricycles from national highways lies on local government units (LGU) as provided by the law.
In the same statement, Año reiterated that tricycles are only allowed in secondary roads and that the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) has directed these vehicles to only carry one passenger and no back-ride will be allowed in all GCQ and MGCQ areas.
The DILG chief also reiterated Roque’s pronouncement that mayors may not give authorization in allowing back ride in GCQ and MGCQ localities in line with the directive of the IATF.
“Ibayong pag-iingat pa rin po ang ipinapatupad kahit pa GCQ o MGCQ na. Batid man ng gobyerno ang daing sa transportasyon ay kailangang manguna pa rin ang pagsunod sa physical distancing at iba pang health safety protocol dahil hindi pa naman po nawawala ang banta ng COVID-19. ‘Di pa tayo puwedeng maging kampante,” Año said.
“Ang pamamasada ng tricycles sa secondary roads ay konsiderasyon sa mga tricycle drivers na nakasalalay ang kabuhayan dito subalit kailangang sundin ang mga pag-iingat na bahagi na ng ating ‘new normal’,” he stressed.
Malaya also emphasized that tricycle drivers must wear face masks or face shields, gloves, and allow only one passenger per trip in observance of physical distancing, except during medical emergency wherein the patient needs to be accompanied.
The DILG likewise reminded LGUs that all forms of public transport vehicles, terminals, and facilities should be regularly disinfected.
To observe physical distancing, the department directed all public utility vehicles (PUV) to only ferry 50% of their seating capacity.
Physical distancing must also be implemented in the queueing for boarding the vehicle and upon entering the terminal premises.
Malaya also said that transportation for medical frontline workers should be continuously provided.
“Priority shall be given to medical frontliners in terms of access to public transportation, which should include free transport services, provision of government transportation, and priority in terminals and in PUVs,” he said in reference to MC 2020-083.
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