Officials of the Department of Transportation should commute to work and experience for themselves the  road transport guidelines they have put in place under General Community Quarantine (GCQ) since yesterday, June 1.

This was the challenge issued by Senator Nancy Binay today as she thinks the transport department has “no clear plan” for workers commuting to work adding only to the “chaos, misery and confusion”.

“Ano ba talaga ang plano ng DOTr sa commuters? Three months under ECQ and still they have no clear plan in place. What happened to foresight? Mabuti sila’t aircon ang mga sasakyan. Eh kung subukan kaya ng mga opisyal ng DOTr mag-commute mula sa kani-kanilang bahay papasok sa opisina nila (sa Clark City o Ortigas)? Dapat maramdaman nila ang hirap na pinagdadaanan ng mga commuter. They won’t be able to plan well if they don’t feel and understand the people’s daily struggles,” she said in a statement.

Binay added that the government “clearly” is not prepared to answer the need of commuters for public transport while the National Capital Region is under GCQ with few public vehicles on the road since Monday.

“Napaka-unfair sa commuters na yung mga private vehicles walang restrictions bumyahe. Napaka-limitado ng choices nila. DOTr knew that Metro Manila and the rest of the regions will soon be transitioning to the new normal. They knew that 30% of those in NCR will start going to work by June 1–tapos ang idi-deploy eh truck ng libreng sakay which compromise and breach all health protocols particularly physical distancing,” Binay added.

Binay believes that commuters’ travel miseries will continue under GCQ or even MGCQ until “no holistic and realistic public transport plan is put in place.”

“Di po lahat ng pupunta sa trabaho eh sa EDSA o sa Commonwealth dumadaan. Yung pagba-ban ng jeepneys sa kalsada ay unrealistic, anti-commuter at anti-worker. Obviously, DOTr is favoring a certain segment of the mass transport sector, while ignoring and isolating the biggest public transport segment which the majority of the commuting public depend on,” she added.

Under the government’s GCQ rules, public utility jeepneys are still prohibited from operating

Binay also said that by banning jeepneys on the road, this also deprives jeepney operators and drivers of their much needed income.

Binay is also worried that when Category IV businesses and industries are allowed to operate at 50% capacity on June 8,  the DOTr is still not ready to address mass transportation issues to service returning workers.

“Baka inaasahan pa rin natin ang private sector na umako ng pagbyahe ng mga empleyado nila. Di po lahat ay may kotse. Di lahat ay may motorsiklo o bisikleta. Di lahat kayang maglakad ng ilang kilometro sa gitna ng baha at ulan. Di po sila experiment. Our workers and the commuting public don’t deserve this kind of treatment. For the past three months, they’ve sacrificed more than enough,” Binay said.  (Rommel F. Lopez)