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AUGUST 13, 2020

The Committee on Transportation was heavily bombarded by the current pandemic. The question as to how transportation would be safe and viable is a tremendous task, to begin with. Through the leadership of Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, The Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) the Department of Transportation (DOTr) presented the plan upon the lifting of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other areas.

The Message of the Chairman:
Rep. Sarmiento emphasized the grave importance of transportation in the economy but the good gentleman warned the sense of urgency to increase capacity in the transportation sectors especially in Metro Manila.

Metro Manila accounts for a large portion of the nation’s economy but due to the pandemic, it lost 16.5% of the GDP that translates to 3.5 trillion pesos loss.

The Committee sent letters to various departments regarding different concerns. Reports of the Air Transport: Civil Service aeronautics – Dgm Sydiongo affirmed that there is an ongoing operation between domestic airports except flights going to Metro Manila.

The Civil Aeronautics Board Director Arcilla said that there is a need in protecting the balancing interest of the airlines and the passengers. Arcilla believes that it will take a long time to recover because the passenger confidence is at its lowest and because of that liberalizing some policies is needed for adjustment.

This pandemic is the most serious economic downturn in recent history MIAA GM Ed Monreal assured the committee that the operation of the airport will comply with the health protocols. Reports of Sea Transport: Philippine Port Authority General Manager Jay Santiago reported that there is a below-normal number of passengers due to the various moratorium imposed by different destination provinces but the PPA is currently implementing health protocol like thermal scanning, contract tracing, and social distancing Reports of Rail Transport is aiming to increase the number of passengers and implementation of the use of face shields. PNR Atty. Ces Lauta reported that the PNR installed a thermal scanner in all of its terminals.

The PNR is strictly implementing the single symptom rule. It conducts regular monitoring. THE PNR is aiming to increase its capacity to 32% from 27% capacity. PNR will also allow bicycle LRT-2 Representative Hernando Cabrera to assure the committee that LRT-2 is “Always Ready”. It already implemented a new system of ticketing. The ticket vending machine and E loading machine will avoid contact and usage of money. LRT-2 has a 34, 000 passenger capacity however achieved 33,000 passenger capacity, a short of one thousand.

The infection rate is now much lower from 12 down to 10 and mostly those infected are office-based workers. The LRT-2 will ensure safety precautions. Reports of Land Transport DOTR Representative Steve Pastor recognized the need for the increased number of authorized buses. Currently, there are 4,600 authorized buses but only 3,000 plus resume operation. One of the factors is cost-operation expenses.

This statement was confirmed by the LTFRB Delgra. MMDA GM Jojo Garcia said that MMDA is in the process of fixing the problem of barriers, especially concrete barriers in EDSA. Due to restrictions imposed by the IATF, Loading and Unloading bases cannot deliver on time. The dire situation of Jeepney, U.V Express, and Motorcycle sectors If there is one largely affected by this pandemic, it was no doubt the Jeepney drivers. There will be a 6 months plan related to the traditional and combined modern jeepney.

There is also a call for the increase in routes. ACTO Representative Ka Efren reported that only 30% of Jeepney drivers are legitimate residents of Manila while 70% are already in their respective provinces. Given this data, Ka Efren calls for the resumption of Jeepney drivers. Chairman Sarmiento requested the ACTO to submit the actual data. There are also requests for adding more UV Express in the roads and for increased capacity of the Motorcycle Taxi.

One of the solutions presented is the strengthening of state- subsidize “Service Contracting” since many of the operators cannot operate due to the costly operational expenses.

VI: Move as One recommendation The Organization Move as One Coalition underscores the role of transportation towards economic recovery. It also reiterates that if there is a low public transportation supply, the more it can lead to more transmission. Terminals will suffer from congestion and there is a need to increase the capacity of public transport. The Organization calls for the increase of state-subsidy to the transportation sector and to enhance active public transport mode.

VII: Initial deliberation of HB 859, HB 2401, 3051, 5126, 5195 The committee also deliberated measures related to Taxi drivers.

HB 859 an Act Providing for the regulation of activities of taxi drivers and operators authored by Rep. Aglipay. PNP -HPG Tanseco suggested including the provision of taxi use of safety devices while in transport (Ex. Seatbelt) and calling for the inclusion of a roadworthiness clause. Hbs 1679, 4670, and 6006 proposed bills related to enhancing the safety of pedestrians.

USec. Echiverri will submit initial comments from DILG and PNP- HPG Tanseco suggested the inclusion of mobility of the disabled, hearing with a disability, and visually impaired individuals.

The Committee created a Technical Working Group to further discuss and enhance those consolidated proposed measures.

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