MANILA, Philippines – The Department on Transportation said railway services are prepared to be operational during the total lockdown, should the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases allow them so.
In a virtual briefing on Thursday, April 30, Philippine National Railways General Manager Junn Magno said the PNR, Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT3), and the Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT2) are ready to serve frontliners and bring cargo parcels to the provinces.
Should the railway sector be allowed to operate, it will function at 25% capacity to observe social distancing. They will also provide buses from stations, as the current enhanced community quarantine protocols stopped mass transportation operations.
“Puwede na kami mag-operate within ECQ and after GCQ (general community quarantine). Sa darating na linggo, handa na kami na mag-operate and ferry frontliners in Metro Manila sa coverage and capacity na sinabi namin,” said Magno.
(We can start operating within the ECQ and after GCQ. This coming week, we are prepared to operate and ferry frontliner in Metro Manila under the coverage and capacity that we have mentioned.)
Magno added PNR can ferry cargo to Central Luzon and all the way to Naga. It can also service parcels all the way to Legapzi in Albay in May.
Metro Manila and other high-risk provinces remained under total lockdown until May 15. The rest of the country not included in the IATF list will be under the more relaxed quarantine protocols where some businesses may start operating in full capacity. (EXPLAINER: What happens under general community quarantine?)
It’s still unknown whether strict quarantine protocols will be downgraded in Metro Manila, the epicenter of the outbreak in the Philippines, as President Rodrigo Duterte earlier hinted that such relaxation can only be allowed once a vaccine is already developed.
As of Thursday, there are 8,488 coronavirus cases in the Philippines, 568 of whom have died from the disease. Total recoveries is at 1,043. – Rappler.com