Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said that allowing more modes of public transportation to operate will eventually help lessen the number of Filipinos who are experiencing hunger due to community quarantine as it will allow people to get to work during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nograles made the statement as he noted that the Inter-agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases is set to present plans to President Duterte on reopening the economy.
In an interview with CNN Philippines, Nograles, who co-chairs the IATF, said that the plans they will present to Duterte next week are tied up with poverty and hunger.
“Tied up pa rin ito sa (It’s still tied up with) poverty and hunger because [the] government can only do so much in terms of interventions,” he said.
The Palace official said that if the country really wants to eliminate hunger, people must get back to work.
“But the bottom line is, if you want to get rid of hunger, you have to get people back to working again. You have to give them their jobs back. They have to be working or in a business,” he added.
According to Nograles, the government is already working on the further gradual and safe reopening of the economy to allow people to find jobs and restart their businesses.
He said that in order to do this, people need to be able to get to move around.
“Necessarily if you want to jumpstart the economy, you have to ensure that people who want to work are able to get to work by the efficient public transport system,” he said.
“So babalik na naman tayo sa discussions on increasing, na naman, yung ating (So we will now be again talking about increasing the) capacities for public transportation,” he added.
Nograles said this was the reason why the IATF called on Congress to extend the pilot run of motorcycle taxis like Angkas that have been suspended since early this year.
“That’s also another option available to us to ensure that there is public transportation,” he said.