Press Release
September 17, 2020

Allow jeeps' last patrol, avoid 'Train to Busan'

Before they are modernized, allow our classic jeepneys their last patrol.

They once helped liberate us from invaders. Today, let us allow them to help us fight this virus which has colonized our daily lives.

We do this not for sentimental reasons, but because it is based on science. With their open windows and a layout which guarantees free flow of air, they are, from a health point of view, one of the safest forms of public transportation.

It is a pity that only a reported 1/3 of the NCR jeepneys have been allowed to ply the streets. For every jeepney denied to operate are hundreds of breadwinners denied a safe ride to work and back home.

Drivers, on their own, have reconfigured their jeepneys to comply with health rules like physical distancing. They are good to go.

It would also be better if they are first in line to benefit from the service contracting scheme which Bayanihan II mandates. There is a P5.58 billion allocation for this. This kind of transport subsidy is nothing new. Billions in taxpayers' money has been lubricating MRT, PNR operations through the years.

Transportation joins test, track and treat as our tools in fighting the pandemic. But workers should only be allowed to get back to work if it is guaranteed that COVID will not be hitching a ride. Hanapbuhay, hindi hanap sakit.

On how we observe the new normal in travelling, let science be the main pilot, and economy the co-pilot. The two should complement and not contravene each other.

As to the DOTR's plan to shrink physical distancing space among passengers, let science be the arbiter of this intra-Cabinet debate—which we should welcome, because best ideas are forged when they clash.

Science should solely decide if the proposal, when applied to the LRT and MRT, will make them safe, or as dangerous as the Train to Busan.

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