Tomorrow, May 16, the national capital region will mark a milestone in the ongoing pandemic. After more than two months, the enhanced community quarantine will ease into what is called the ‘modified community quarantine’, or MECQ.
All forms of public transportation are still banned under MECQ. However, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is leaving the operation of tricycles to the discretion of the local government.
In Mandaluyong, presidents of the city’s various tricycle operators and drivers associations (TODAs) assembled in the city hall today, May 15, to hear out the city guidelines for tricycles during MECQ.
Among them? Mandatory COVID-19 tests for all tricycle drivers.
“Lahat po ng ating tricyle drivers ay sasailalim sa random COVID-19 rapid testing bago payagang pumasada,” said Mayor Menchie Abalos in a Facebook post.
She stressed: “Pinapaalalahanan ang lahat ng tricycle drivers na hindi puwedeng bumiyahe kung walang rapid test.”
The rapid tests began today with the TODA presidents.
Under the DOTr’s guidelines, all private means of transportation is permitted, from electric scooters all the way up to company shuttles. However, passengers will be strictly limited. Only two people can occupy one row of a car, for example, and company shuttles can only be filled up to 50 percent capacity. Only one person at a time can ride a bicycle, motorcycle, or electric scooter.
However, in a televised briefing today, the Department of Health’s Maria Rosario Vergeire has appealed to local governments to provide transportation for certain health emergencies, like when a woman is about to give birth.
“Lubos pong naalarma ang kagawaran na dahil dito maaaring dumami ang hindi nakakapagpa-check up at pinipiling manganak na lang sa kanilang mga tahanan,” she said.
Vergeire continued: “Para naman po sa ating mga barangay, siguraduhing may sasakyan ang mga manganganak papunta sa birthing clinic or ospital.”