No changes in transport supply, capacity as NCR, Bataan, Laguna shift to MECQ — DOTr

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 20, 2021   •   463

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Friday (August 20) announced that there will be no changes in the transport supply and capacity as the National Capital Region (NCR), Laguna, and Bataan shift to modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

From enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the NCR and Laguna will be under the less restrictive quarantine classification from August 21 to August 31, followed by Bataan from August 23 until the 31st.

The DOTr said that public transportation and all other modes of transportation will still strictly observe the prescribed physical distancing and health measures at all times.

Public utility buses and jeepneys are allowed to operate at 50% maximum capacity on a “one-seat-apart” rule. Standing passengers will not be allowed and only one passenger is allowed to sit on the driver’s row.

Motorcycle taxi services and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS) operations are allowed.

Only one passenger per tricycle is allowed, as approved by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and local government units (LGUs) in compliance with the existing policies on its operational limitations.

Air and maritime transport shall continue servicing the public in the NCR during the MECQ, subject to community quarantine restrictions of the passenger’s destination.

“As the threat of COVID-19 and Delta variant cases soar, the public should remain vigilant, especially in using public transport. Just like during the ECQ period, there will be stricter enforcement of safety measures to ensure that only APORs are permitted to use public transport, as mandated by the IATF,” according to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade. AAC

NCR’s COVID-19 reproduction rate down to 0.35 – OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   December 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The COVID-19 reproduction rate in the National Capital Region (NCR) went down to 0.35 from November 29 to December, Independent Analytics Group OCTA Research said.

OCTA Research fellow Guido David said nearly all indicators in the same period have gone down when compared to the data gathered in the past week.

In a message on Twitter on Monday, Guido also said that the daily attack rate has gone down to 0.79 from November 29 to December 5 from 2.61 recorded in the same period last year.

The positivity rate also went down to 1.1 percent from 3.7 percent, and the hospital bed occupancy from 37 percent to 21 percent.

He, however, noted that the number of ICU beds occupied slightly increased from 322 to 350.

In a media briefing, Guido said the current data should be maintained to keep the country’s very low risk classification for COVID-19.

He is also in favor of keeping the NCR and the rest of the country under COVID-19 Alert Level 2 in view of the threat of the newly discovered Omicron variant.

“If there was no threat of a new variant, pwede naman tayo actually it’s possible to de-escalate because we are at very low risk based on our metrics,” he said.

“We don’t know when this variant might come in the country. At least we are better prepared if we have some restrictions than if we don’t have restrictions,” he added.

Should the new variant enter the Philippines, David said the Philippines may see another surge in COVID-19 cases by 2022.

The OCTA Research fellow noted that based on preliminary studies, the Omicron variant seems more contagious than the Delta variant.

“If it’s twice sa Omicron then we are expecting 1 person with Omicron will infect 10-16 other people,” he said.

“Most likely ang timeline natin around January or February baka magkaroon ng disruption. It may not be a massive surge but it will still affect the number of cases,” he added.

He urged the public to be responsible and continue adhering to public health protocols against COVID-19 especially this holiday season. (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

DOTr asks Google to include PH bike lane routes in map app

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) on Thursday said it has requested Google to include the country’s bike lane routes in the dashboard of its popular real-time navigation app Google maps.

The DOTr said the inclusion of bike lanes on Google maps will help cyclists on their daily commutes.

“This will be a very good innovation for Google Maps considering that many Filipinos now are riding bikes as their main mode of transportation which brings significant health and environmental benefits especially amid the pandemic,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

Google has yet to approve DOTr’s request but Tugade expressed confidence the tech giant will most likely pursue the suggestion as it is a supporter of active transport.

“We have asked Google to consider this suggestion top priority considering the increasing number of Filipino cyclists. We are confident that we can win their support on this,” said Tugade.

The DOTr said it has already completed its 500-kilometer bike lane network in metropolitan cities across the Philippines.

The bike lane network includes Metro Manila (313.12 kilometers), Metro Cebu (129.47 kilometers), and Metro Davao (54.74 kilometers).

Bike lanes have pavement markings, physical separators, solar-powered road studs, thermoplastic paints, road signages, and bike racks.

The project was funded under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, the DOTr said.

Wearing of face shields in public transport no longer required in areas under alert levels 1 to 3 – DOTr

Robie de Guzman   •   November 16, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The wearing of face shields in all public transportation will no longer be mandatory in areas under COVID-19 Alert Level 1, 2, and 3, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Tuesday.

The DOTr made the announcement after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases on the following protocols:

  • For areas under Alert Level 5 and granular lockdowns, the use of face shields in community settings shall be mandatory;
  • For areas under Alert Level 4, local government units (LGUs) and private establishments are given discretion to mandate the use of face shields; and
  • For areas under Alert Levels 3, 2 and 1, the use of face shields shall be voluntary.

DOTr representative to the IATF-EID and Undersecretary for Administrative Services Artemio Tuazon Jr. said the department will immediately enforce the protocols on the use of face shields.

“In line with the directive issued by the IATF, which was also approved by the Palace, wearing of face shields in areas, where Alerts Level 1, 2 and 3 are in place, is no longer mandatory. It will be voluntary,” Tuazon said in a statement.

To recall, all passengers in any mode of public transportation were required to wear face shields, aside from face masks, effective August 1, 2020.

Meanwhile, despite the lifting of the mandatory use of face shields, the DOTr reminded that public that stringent preventive measures remain in effect to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in all public transport facilities.

These include the mandatory wearing of face mask, strict enforcement of the social distancing measure, and frequent sanitation.

Talking and eating are likewise discouraged inside all public transportation, the DOTr added.

The government lifted the mandatory use of face shields in public areas amid declining cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines.

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