Vico Sotto allows ‘limited trips’ for tricycles in Pasig during virus lockdown

JC Gotinga
There aren't enough government vehicles to convey essential service workers, and there are places only tricycles can reach in an emergency

TRICYCLE. Policemen inspect a tricycle entering Pasig City at a checkpoint along Eastbank Floodway bordering Cainta, Rizal at the start of the community quarantine on March 15, 2020. Photo by Joser Dumbrique/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – Tricycles will be allowed to continue conveying passengers in Pasig for now, as the city government does not have enough vehicles to give all commuters exempted from the Luzon-wide lockdown a ride, Mayor Vico Sotto said on Tuesday morning, March 17.

“We’re using our vehicles but it’s not enough. Our risk assessment shows that we can’t ban tricycles at this point,” Sotto said on his official social media accounts.

Health workers and employees of essential services need a way to get to work. Besides, there are places in Pasig accessible only by tricycle, so they need to be on hand for emergencies.

“Dahil dito, sa ngayon ay pinapayagan ko ang limitadong pagbiyahe ng mga tricycle sa loob ng Pasig (Because of this, for now I am allowing limited trips of tricycles within Pasig),” Sotto said.

The city’s Tricycle Operation and Regulatory Office will set guidelines on how the city’s most ubiquitous means of public transport may operate during the “enhanced community quarantine” imposed by the national government at midnight on Tuesday. (READ: GUIDELINES: Luzon ‘enhanced community quarantine’)

The measure suspends public transportation across Luzon’s 8 administrative regions to “keep people at home” and discourage them from going around, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said on Monday night.

Sotto reminded his constituents that only people exempted from the quarantine may take tricycles. They include health workers, security forces, employees of essential services such as food and groceries, and media workers.

To observe social distancing – maintaining ample personal space to avoid catching the virus – only up to 3 passengers are allowed on each tricycle at a time. Normally, the tiny taxi can cram up to half a dozen people, including the driver, in a single trip.

The Pasig government earlier allowed tricycle operators to raise fares by 50% as they cut down the number of passengers they take on per trip.

“Maawa naman tayo kung sa 8 hours na biyahe, P50 lang kikitain nila (Let’s have a heart, if for 8 hours of trips, they only earn P50),” the mayor said. 

The “enhanced community quarantine,” a virtual lockdown, is meant to quell the novel coronavirus. The Philippines saw a spike in the number of infections last week. As of Monday, there have been 142 confirmed cases in the country, and 12 deaths.

The global death toll has exceeded 6,500, with more than 3,200 of the fatalities in mainland China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau). The number of cases worldwide has risen to more than 168,200, with more than 80,800 of the infections in China. The virus has spread to at least 142 countries. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.