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MANILA – The government cannot allow all modes of transportation to resume operations due to the prevailing coronavirus disease (Covid-19) threat, Malacañang said on Sunday.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque sought for more patience from commuters, saying that they understand their sentiments but stood pat on its decision to only allow limited public utility vehicles (PUVs) and passenger capacity to minimize the risk of spreading the virus.

“We have to consider, however, that Metro Manila, is still under General Community Quarantine; thus, the threat of Covid-19 still exists and is real,” he said in a statement.

Roque said allowing a hundred percent of PUVs to ply roads would put to waste government efforts to flatten the curve or slow down the rate of Covid-19 infection.

“At this juncture, we still cannot let all modes of transportation to be on the streets. This will defeat the purpose of quarantine. Unless a vaccine or cure is available, we must not let our guards down,” he said.

He, meanwhile, reiterated the importance of implementing a “gradual, calibrated and partial” resumption of public transport under two phases.

Phase 1, which will be from June 1 -21, 2020, includes train and bus augmentation, public utility buses (PUBs), taxis and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), shuttle services, point-to-point buses, public utility buses and bicycles.

He said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has opened eight city bus routes last week and will open three more on Monday (June 8) and more rationalized routes in the next few days.

There are 28 point-to-point routes, with 268 bus units, provided access to commuters from peripheral areas such as Alabang, Bacoor, Bulacan and Antipolo.

Around 31,700 taxis and TNVs were likewise deployed and are using cashless transactions and online payments for fare collection.

Free rides in almost 20 routes and 95 hospitals around Metro Manila are being offered to healthcare workers and medical front-liners.

As of June 6, 2020, the DOTr Free Ride for Health Workers was able to reach 1,073,975 in terms of ridership nationwide.

For Phase 2,  public utility buses, modern public utility vehicles, and UV express will be added from June 22-30, 2020.

Roque also assured that daily assessments are done on the transportation sector.

“The government is trying to do more in order to help of everyone,” he said.

Meanwhile, Roque also reiterated his appeal to the private sector to provide shuttle services to their employees and only allow half of their workforce to physically report for work.

“What the administration is doing is balancing the need to revitalize the economy so that we can have livelihood and jobs while looking out for and protecting the health and safety of the public as well,” he said.

There are 21,895 confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection in the country with 1,003 deaths and 4,530 are recoveries, as of Sunday. (PNA)