DOTr to absorb laid-off LRT-1 workers
DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has instructed the Philippine National Railways, Light Rail Transit Authority, and the Metro Rail Transit 3 to hire qualified retrenched employees from LRT Line 1.
Edd Gumban, file
DOTr to absorb laid-off LRT-1 workers
Ghio Ong, Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 13, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr), through its rail sector, said yesterday it is looking to absorb the workers who would be laid off by the Light Rail Manila Corp. (LRMC) by mid-September.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade has instructed the Philippine National Railways, Light Rail Transit Authority, and the Metro Rail Transit 3 to hire qualified retrenched employees from LRT Line 1 (LRT-1).

LRMC, the private operator and maintenance provider of LRT-1, announced on Tuesday it would be letting go of over 100 personnel, nearly 20 percent of its workforce, effective on Sept. 15 due to a significant drop in ridership brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Hire qualified personnel to our rail lines and projects. It is saddening that they will lose their jobs while there is an ongoing pandemic,” Tugade said.

“We must look into the possibility of absorbing them as quickly as we can. Let us not leave them alone. It’s the least and most humane thing we can do for them at this time,” he said.

Meanwhile, Tugade also called on LRMC to subject all their personnel to swabbing.

“They should swab all their people. Cost is not the primary issue here. We can discuss who absorbs the cost at some later time. What matters most is the health and safety of commuters and their employees,” Tugade said.

Tugade also instructed PNR general manager Junn Magno and DOTr Assistant Secretary Fidel Cruz to thoroughly review the COVID-19 health and safety protocols being implemented by LRMC.

The firm said it has an internal contact tracing protocol based on Department of Health criteria. The firm said it prioritized those with symptoms and those with exposure to confirmed cases.

LRMC said it has also instituted other measures such as setting up disinfecting mats, hygiene supply provisions, and required daily health checks for all visitors and staff at LRT-1 stations, facilities and depot.

DOTR LIGHT RAIL MANILA CORP.
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