By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said the one meter distance among passengers inside public utility vehicles (PUVs) should be maintained.
Lacson made the statement amid the recommendation of the Department of Transportation )
(DOTr) to reduce to 0.5 meters from one meter the distance among passengers inside PUVs by September 28.
This distance will be further adjusted to 0.5 meter and then to 0.3 meter on October 12 in order to allow optimization of ridership, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said.
But Lacson said the one meter distance should be maintained because it is based on the health standards set by the World Health Organization on social distancing to avoid the infection of the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19.
He believes that the recommendation of the DOTr will be overruled by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases, the government’s lead panel in the battle against Covid-19.
Tugade, on the other hand, said that commuters’ health and safety are “not prejudiced” in the new physical distancing policy so long as they follow other health protocols such as wearing face masks and face shields, frequent handwashing, and avoiding unnecessary talking, eating, and use of cellphones while aboard PUVs.
Meanwhile, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque announced through a tweet yesterday that the government has reimposed its rule to keep a distance of one meter between public transportation passengers after President Rodrigo Duterte raised his concern over the DOTr plan to reduce the distance to 0.75 meter.
“The 0.75 meter rule is suspended…. We are back to the one-meter rule until the President decides,” Roque said./DGB, WDJ