By Gabriela Baron
Transport group Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) unveiled its proposed modification of their jeepneys to enforce social distancing among commuters.
“Inihanda ng mga tsuper at operator ang kani-kanilang mga jeep upang umangkop sa social distancing at siguraduhing maghahatid sila ng ligtas na serbisyo sa mga manggagawang Pilipino,” PISTON said.
(Drivers and operators are readying their jeepneys in compliance with social distancing policy and to ensure that their service will be safe to Filipino workers.)
PISTON also appealed to the government to allow jeepneys back on the road.
“Kailangan ngayon makabiyahe ang mga driver, upang makaahon sa mahigit dalawang buwan na kagutuman at makasakay ang mga manggagawang at empleyado, upang makarating sa trabaho, at muling makauwi ng bahay, nang hindi pagal ang katawan,” it said in a statement.
(Drivers need to get back on the road to earn after over two months of hunger and to also service workers coming to and from their offices, without being physically exhausted.)
While mass transportation vehicles are now partially allowed to operate in areas under a general community quarantine (GCQ), public utility jeepneys (PUJs) are still prohibited from resuming operations.
Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said that if jeepneys will be able to modify their seating arrangement to ensure that there will be physical distancing inside the vehicle, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases may consider allowing them to resume operations under GCQ.
Roque said that the IATF will continue to review the fate of jeepneys, but hinted that it will be better if owners and operators of the traditional jeepneys can modify their seats into something similar to those of the prototype modernized jeepneys.