CHR calls on DOTr to lift 'discriminatory' train ban on senior citizens  
Commuters observe social distancing rules inside an MRT3 train on June 1, 2020.
The STAR/ Michael Varcas
CHR calls on DOTr to lift 'discriminatory' train ban on senior citizens  
Bella Perez-Rubio ( - June 2, 2020 - 5:38pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday urged the Department of Transportation to lift its train ban on senior citizens. 

CHR Focal Commissioner on Ageing and the Human Rights of Older Persons Karen Gomez-Dupin called the ban “discriminatory” as it denied the elderly of essential services. 

Gomez-Dupin added the ban is a “misinterpretation" of general community quarantine rules— explaining that older persons are allowed to leave their homes "if it is for essential services and goods or for work in the permitted industries.”

CHR released the statement in response to ABS-CBN’s report on Monday that a senior citizen walked an hour and a half to MRT3 North, only to be turned away. 

The report said Felicia Osiana, 67, was attended to by the railway’s medical team as she was close to fainting due to fatigue. 

She was hoping to claim her husband’s pension in San Juan City in order to buy her maintenance medicines but was instead brought home by the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic, according to ABS-CBN. 

Transportation woes plague shift to GCQ 

As Metro Manila shifted into to a more relaxed GCQ on Monday, thousands of commuters found themselves stranded and scrambling to find rides. 

Traditional jeepneys and UV express vehicles, which are among the main modes of transportation for most Filipinos, are currently not allowed on the road.

Several government agencies including the Philippine National Police and Philippine Coast Guard deployed trucks to pick up stranded commuters.

This tactic saw commuters overcrowding the government-deployed trucks and violating social distancing rules. 

Sen. Nancy Binay, in a statement released Tuesday, called the ban on jeepneys "unrealistic, anti-commuter [and] 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. 

Transportation Secretary Art Tugade said the inconvenience to commuters could not be avoided as the government is still adjusting to the general community quarantine.

Binay challenged DOTr officials to travel to work like regular commuters, criticizing them for having "no clear plan in place" after almost three months under ECQ.

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