Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News
The Philippine capital’s e-tricycles were allowed to operate under the Luzon lockdown because these were used to ferry only health workers, the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Friday as it defended its call for Pasig City to stop operations of its tricycles.
E-tricycles in Manila operate on a dispatch system, which means the local government is in charge of the vehicles’ operations, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año explained as he noted that Pasig City’s call to allow some tricycle drivers to operate on their own defeats the purpose of a lockdown.
“The difference dun kay mayor ng Manila, ‘yung e-trikes, e-vehicles ay hindi pumapasada. Ito ay hinire or kinomisyon ng Manila on dispatch systems for the purpose of bringing health workers to the hospital,” he said during a televised briefing.
(The difference with how the Manila mayor did it was, those e-trikes, e-vehicles are not for public conveyance. They were hired and commissioned by the city on dispatch systems for the purpose of bringing health workers to the hospital.)
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto earlier called on the national government to exempt tricycles from the public transport ban during the month-long Luzon lockdown, citing difficulties in providing transportation for health workers and emergency frontliners.
His call was rejected by the DILG, which urged the local chief executive to be “more creative.”
After Sotto’s call, Manila City Mayor Isko Moreno said his local government would allow 189 e-tricycles to service health workers to hospitals during the lockdown. The e-tricycles will be assigned to the city’s public hospitals.
“They are on dispatch system to pick up the health workers specifically. Hindi ‘yung pumipick up ka ng pasahero at alam mo naman, ‘pag pinayagan mo mamasada kahit konti lang ‘yan (not to pick up passengers and you know that if you allow that, even if they’re few), you can’t control it anymore,” Año said.
The DILG chief said there are about 270,000 tricycles in Metro Manila alone.
The government has suspended public transportation until April 12 as part of an enhanced community quarantine meant to control the spread of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The suspension covers pedicabs, tricycles, buses, trains, vans, and other forms of public transport.