Tricycles and pedicabs remain banned on national highways in all general community quarantine (GCQ) and modified GCQ (MGCQ) areas.
This is the urgent clarification of Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Undersecretary and Spokesperson Jonathan Malaya on Thursday after conferring with Secretary Eduardo Año, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, and DOTr Secretary Arturo Tugade.
“Nililinaw po ng DILG na bawal pa rin ang tricycles at pedicabs sa national highways kahit pa nasa GCQ o MGCQ level na ang ilang lokalidad. Bago pa man magsimula ang pandemya ng COVID-19 corona ay ipinagbabawal na ito ng batas para na rin sa kaligtasan ng publiko,” he said.
He explained that what was suspended because of COVID was the Road Clearing Operation 2.0 but the prohibition on tricycles and pedicabs is provided for by law and could not, therefore, be suspended by the DILG. "Ang atin pong tinigil muna pansamantala ay ang Road Clearing Operation 2.0 dahil sa COVID, ngunit ito po ay pansamantala lamang," he said.
On top of Republic Act No. 4136 or the Land Transportation and Traffic Code, prior DILG directives – DILG Memorandum Circulars (MCs) 2020-036, 2020-004, 2011-68, and 2007-11 – have already been issued prohibiting the operation of tricycles and pedicabs on national roads and prescribing the operating conditions and franchising of tricycles.
Año said that LGUs are the ones regulating the operation of tricycles and padyaks in secondary roads. “Pinapayagan lamang po ang operasyon ng tricycles sa secondary roads at ipinag-uutos na ng Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) ang one-passenger, no-back ride policies sa lahat ng GCQ at MGCQ areas,” he said.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año reiterated the pronouncement of Presidential Spokesperson Roque that mayors may not give authorization in allowing back ride in GCQ and MGCQ localities in line with the directive of the IATF.
“Ibayong pag-iingat pa rin po ang ipinapatupad kahit pa GCQ o MGCQ na. Batid man ng gobyerno ang daing sa transportasyon ay kailangang manguna pa rin ang pagsunod sa physical distancing at iba pang health safety protocol dahil hindi pa naman po nawawala ang banta ng COVID-19. ‘Di pa tayo puwedeng maging kampante,” said Año.
“Ang pamamasada ng tricycles sa secondary roads ay konsiderasyon sa mga tricycle drivers na nakasalalay ang kabuhayan dito subalit kailangang sundin ang mga pag-iingat na bahagi na ng ating ‘new normal’," he emphasized.
Safety in public transpo
The DILG Spokesperson also stressed that tricycle drivers must wear face masks or face shields, gloves, and allow only one passenger per trip in observance of physical distancing except during a medical emergency wherein the patient needs to be accompanied.
In MC 2020-083, the DILG reminds LGUs that all forms of public transport vehicles, terminals, and facilities should be regularly disinfected and implement social distancing measures as prescribed by the Department of Health (DOH) and the IATF.
To enable distancing, all public utility vehicles (PUVs) and private vehicles shall only ferry at most 50% of their seating capacity and still observe physical distancing inside the PUV and the terminal, to include queueing for boarding the vehicle and upon entering the terminal premises.
Malaya further underscored the policy that transportation for medical frontliners should be continuously provided.
“Priority shall be given to medical frontliners in terms of access to public transportation, which should include free transport services, provision of government transportation, and priority in terminals and in PUVs,” he said in reference to MC 2020-083.