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Group seeks assurance over new distancing policy in public transportation

    FILE PHOTO: A bus driver and passengers wear face masks and face shields, both mandatory in public transportation, to help curb coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines, August 19, 2020. REUTERS/Eloisa Lopez

The easing of physical distancing inside public transportation worries the Lawyers for Commuters’ Safety and Protection (LCSP).

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) approved the proposal of the Economic Development Cluster, and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to reduce the physical distance between commuters.

Starting Monday, September 14, the allowed 1-meter physical distance between passengers of public transportation went down to 0.75 meters, and it will further decrease every two weeks until it reaches 0.3 meters in October.

Atty. Ariel Inton, president of the LCSP, seeks assurance that this new physical distancing policy will not increase the risk of commuters contacting the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).

“According to DOTr dati, with the face shield, with the face mask, plus one meter social distance, you are already 98 to 99 percent risk, reduced risk transmission,” Inton explained on Monday during DZRH’s Magandang Umaga Pilipinas.

Yung pinaikling one meter, ano ang medical findings natin na hindi ito makakaapekto doon sa risk reduction na 98 percent,” he asked.

Inton believes that the new policy approved by the IATF will not work in favor of the commuters if the government will not implement new safety and health protocols.

The lawyer proposed that the government require operators to sanitize their fleet, implement cashless transactions, and install High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to their air-conditioned units.

Willing diyan ang mga bus operator. In fact, sila mismo naghanap niyan (HEPA filters),” Inton said.

Inton said that the LCSP will support the new policy if the government will produce opinions from health experts or medical findings proving that reduced physical distancing will not impact the transmission rate of COVID-19 in public transportation vehicles.

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