MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is eyeing 100% capacity for public transportation under Alert Level 1, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
“On the part of LTFRB and DOTr, ito po ang ating sinusulong at nirerekomenda na dahil sa Alert Level 1 ay itaas na from 70% to 100% po ‘yung capacity po natin,” said LTFRB Executive Director Maria Kristina Cassion during a Laging Handa briefing on Saturday, February 26.
(This is what we are pushing for and recommending, to raise the capacity under Alert Level 1 from 70% to 100%.)
The recommendation would be up for the approval of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Rappler sought DOTr’s comment on what this recommendation would entail but the agency has yet to respond as of posting.
In November 2021, the allowed passenger capacity for jeepneys and buses was increased to 70% in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Rizal, Cavite, and Laguna.
All 17 National Capital Region (NCR) mayors recommended downgrading the status of the region to Alert Level 1 by March. The resolution of the Metro Manila Council, composed of the mayors, has already been sent to the IATF.
But experts warned that the vaccination thresholds – 80% for the elderly population and at least 70% for the general population – for deescalating an area to Alert Level 1 are not nearly enough to safeguard against the collapse of health systems in the event of future surges. (READ: Experts question gov’t vaccination thresholds for Alert Level 1)
In the same Laging Handa briefing, Health Undersecretary Myrna Cabotaje said NCR was ready to be placed under Alert Level 1, citing high vaccination rates and the capacity of the health system to withstand the recent Omicron surge. (READ: Teleconsultation services, testing labs overwhelmed amid Omicron surge) – Rappler.com