SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
15 September 2020 06:42:01 PM
The House Committee on Appropriations questioned Tuesday officials of the Department of Transportation over the DOTr recent announcement to gradually reduce physical distancing in public transportation. During the budget briefing of the agency, Iloilo Rep. Janette Garin asked the DOTr to explain the decision to decrease the minimum physical distance between passengers from one meter to 0.3 meter over the next few months, noting that there are an increasing number of workers who now need to commute and travel. Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade assured that the decision would not “aggravate” the spread of COVID-19 as long as other minimum health standards are strictly maintained. “We can show that the matter of health and safety is not prejudiced, provided you do strict enforcement and recognition of face mask, face shield, washing of hands, no more unnecessary talking, no eating, no use of cellphones, no asymptomatic, no entry of senior citizens,” Tugade said. Tugade also stressed that the decision to reduce physical distancing was not made by the DOTr alone but by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID). According to the previous presentation of the Development Budget Coordination Committee on the 2021 National Expenditure Program, the DOTr is poised to receive P143.6 billion in allocations — the seventh biggest among the departments. This marks an increase from its budget of P100.6 billion in 2020.