Lopez leads House plea to hike transport modes

Manny Lopez
Manila Rep. Manny Lopez

SIX House leaders have urged the Duterte administration to increase by 30 percent all modes of public transportation, especially traditional jeepneys and proposed that at least additional 10 percent be allowed in every succeeding week to ease the burden of the commuting public.

In a letter dated July 9, Manila Rep. Manny Lopez, chairman of the House committee on Metro Manila development, led five other House leaders in urging Sec. Francisco Duque, chairperson of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), to help address the problem of the people who have been reporting for work.

The letter to Duque through Gen. Carlito Galvez, Jr.,chief implementor of the Philippines’ Declared National Policy Against COVID-19, was also signed by the five other members of the committee namely House Minority Leader and Manila Rep. Bienvenido “Benny” Abante, Jr.; Calocan City Rep. Edgar Erice, senior panel vice chairman; Manila Rep. Virgilio Lacson, chairman of the House committee on small and medium enterprise development; Senior Citizens party-list Rep. Francisco Datol, Jr., who chairs the House special committee on senior citizens; and Quezon City Rep. Jesus “Bong” Suntay, chairman of the House committee on human rights.

The lawmakers said they decided to write a letter after the House committee on Metro Manila development held discussions with officials of the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) during a recent hearing about the need to increase the capacity of public transportation.

“With the opening of businesses, the carrying capacity of public health vehicles authorized to operate is way below the number of the riding public. In the case of traditional jeepneys, these were only allowed to operate last July 3, 2020, but with shortened routes and at a very limited number. This proved to be burdensome to the majority of our countrymen who rely and depend on this type of transportation,” the lawmakers said.

“In the case of traditional jeepneys, it is further proposed that they be allowed to operate using their traditional routes,” they said.

“We trust that you would act favorably on this proposal and by doing so help the riding public cope with the hardships they face every single day,” they added.

Earlier, Malacañang stood firm on its decision to prohibit some modes of public transportation as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) despite majority of Filipinos view the restriction as burdensome.

It justified the transportation restriction by saying that the government cannot be complacent until a vaccine for the pandemic is developed.