QUEZON CITY, 4 August 2020 — Medical professionals led by the Philippine College of Physicians today called for safe and sufficient public transportation for health workers and frontliners, echoing recommendations by the Move As One coalition of mobility advocates and transport groups to prioritize service contracting for public utility vehicles and pop-up bicycle lanes.

“We, with the Healthcare Professions Alliance [against COVID-19], call for an urgent meeting with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), specifically through Secretary Tugade and Director Lim. Time for this MECQ is running out, we only have 13 days left. We have to address issues on sufficient transportation after the MECQ, even during. Healthcare and essential services continue to operate during the MECQ, yet it is clear that we lack transportation options for all, especially healthcare workers. The public health standards for safe transportation have not been released, we still need to thoroughly discuss service contracting, and the pop-up bike lanes are still not put up. These are quick solutions that we want to discuss, which will hopefully be addressed with the DOTr and MMDA,” Dr. Antonio Dans of the Philippine Society of General Internal Medicine said in Filipino in the PCP online forum held this morning.

In reaction, Maria Golda Hilario, associate for program development of the climate and energy policy group Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (ICSC), said:

“We call for cost-effective solutions, particularly those which help advance the administration’s long-term development goals. More pop-up bicycle lanes and pedestrian lanes need to be built immediately, and traffic regulations must be strictly enforced to fend off reckless motorists and those ignorant of safety considerations faced by cyclists and commuters.

“With the modified enhanced community quarantine again in place, we need to ensure health, sanitation and other frontline personnel have predictable means to travel to work and return home to their families safely. We share the government’s aim to shift away from the grossly inefficient and unjust boundary system. And we will work overtime to help government confidently and methodically shift to service contracting of public utility vehicles, because our bus and jeepney drivers are no less as important as our doctors and nurses. They all deserve better.”

CONTACT: Denise Fontanilla: media@icsc.ngo, +63 917 851 4890, +63 998 546 9788