With public transportation still limited by quarantine rules, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año has ordered local government units (LGUs) to set bicycle lanes.
The bike looms as the primary mode of transportation, particularly in Metro Manila, where jeepneys are still banned under the general community quarantine (GCQ).
In a television interview on Thursday, Año urged people to use bikes because they are “safe and cost-effective.”
Under the impending GCQ in Metro Manila, taxis will be allowed back on the road. Buses can also return, but can only take in half their usual passenger load as part of physical distancing.
Año encouraged LGUs to pass an ordinance to penalize people not wearing masks in public.
The use of bicycles was also recommended by National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Acting Secretary Karl Chua.
“There will be a revisiting of the entire public transport system. There will be cases wherein we have to totally shift to other modes of transport, bicycles for instance,” Chua said during the online forum organized by The Manila Times.
He added that there are currently several bills that are looking into getting half of the population to ride bicycles.
Senate Bill 1518 earlier filed by Sen. Pilar Juliana Cayetano aims to establish a network of pop-up bicycle lanes during the pandemic.
Chua also urged private companies to provide shuttle services to their employees or house them near their workplace to limit the use of public transport.
“As the capital transitions to GCQ and that would depend if we meet the health conditions, in June or maybe July, we are mindful that the people will travel to work and there are minimum standards for public transport,” he said.
He noted that the capacity of public transport will not be the usual 100 percent.
“Under the GCQ, we are proposing actually that only the essentials will go to work and for services they are highly encouraged not to go to 100 percent to the office, 50 percent will have to stay home. Classes and schools will not be open yet so there is a gradual transition,” Chua said.
He noted that tourism and leisure establishments were not allowed to open yet.
“We don’t have all the transport ready but we are also not allowing all the population to go out so that should alleviate the pressure. We highly encourage the private sector to provide shuttles to their employees and to house them closer to the offices,” he said.
“These are the things that we are doing and this is going to be a gradual transition. The priority is to take care of everyone’s health and not to create a second or third wave,” Chua continued.
WITH ANNA LEAH E. GONZALES