Earlier today, the government released guidelines as to which businesses will be allowed to operate under the new Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) that will be put in place in Metro Manila, Cebu City, and Laguna starting May 16, 2020. Under MECQ, more private establishments and the manufacturing sectors in these locations have been allowed to re-open in order to slowly restart the Philippine economy.
Although more businesses have been allowed to open under MECQ, public transport is still not allowed and will remain closed for the duration. Based on the latest press conference, public transport will only resume during the General Community Quarantine (GCQ), albeit at limited capacity. This then begs the question of how workers in MECQ areas will get to and from their place of employment.
In order for people to get to their respective workplaces, the government says private companies must provide shuttles for employees to get to and from work. This is part of the new minimum standards set in place to ensure that their workforce is safe from the disease. Aside from company shuttles, the MECQ will allow bikes, motorcycles, and e-scooters, though back riding will still not be allowed.
"Ang mga public shuttle po ay dapat ibigay ng mga kumpanya. Kung pagmamay-ari po ng kumpanya wala na pong kinakailangan na permits sa LTFRB. Pero kung sila po ay uupa ng shuttle, kinakailangan po nila kumuha ng permit sa LTFRB," said Harry Roque, Presidential Spokesperson.
[Public shuttles must be provided by companies. If the company owns the vans, they are not required to get permits from the LTFRB. But if they want to rent a shuttle, they must obtain a permit from the LTFRB.]
What does this mean for them? It seems that it falls solely on the business owners to find a way to get shuttles if the guidelines are taken at face value. This may pose a problem for many, but everyone will just have to find a way to get to their destinations.