Duterte rules retaining 1-meter distancing in public transpo
MRT-3 commuters observe physical distancing protocol by the Department of Transportation on Sept. 14, 2020.
The STAR/Michael Varcas
Duterte rules retaining 1-meter distancing in public transpo
Ratziel San Juan (Philstar.com) - September 19, 2020 - 10:03am

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 10:23 a.m.) — President Rodrigo Duterte has decided to maintain the one-meter physical distancing required on public transportation, Malacañang announced on Saturday morning.

“Ang desisyon po ng Presidente, mananatili po ang one-meter social distancing sa pampublikong transportasyon,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said on Saturday.

This comes after think tanks and civil society groups earlier this week appealed to the president to retain the one-meter distancing instead of the reduction to 0.75 meters pushed by the Department of Transportation.

Prior to the Palace's announcement, the policy on reducing the required distancing in public utility vehicles was temporarily revoked to allow Duterte to personally decide on the matter.

The transportation department began implementing the reduced distancing policy on Monday, but the president raised the same day health experts' concerns that this could lead to increased transmission of COVID-19.

While the Cabinet was divided on the matter, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año advised against reducing the distancing to 0.75 meters for the same reason.

RELATED: Officials differ on relaxed distancing on public transport; Duterte to decide

The DOTr has since issued an official statement assuring compliance with Duterte's decision.

"The president has spoken. We shall aggressively comply and strictly enforce the 1-meter physical distancing in all public transport as envisioned and mandated."

COVID-19 DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION DOTR MASS TRANSPORTATION NOVEL CORONAVIRUS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION RODRIGO DUTERTE
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