Hontiveros: Protect commuting public amid COVID-19 outbreak

PASAY CITY — “COVID-19 is a daily risk for the working and commuting public.” This was the statement of Senator Risa Hontiveros as cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus or COVID-19 in the country hit 49.  

Hontiveros on Wednesday urged the Department of Transportation [DOTr] and the Department of Health [DOH] to take necessary measures to minimize the risk of infection and protect the riding public.  

“Marami pa rin sa atin ang kailangan pumasok araw-araw. The working and commuting public need access to working lavatories in our train and transport stations,” urged the Senator.  “For those na imposible ang sinasabing social distancing, kailangan natin i-minimize ang risk,” she added. 

“Comfort rooms in our transport terminals should be working and disinfected daily,” Hontiveros said. “Clean lavatories with ample supply of soap and water in our train, bus, and transport stations should be part of our response against COVID,” she added.  

Hontiveros said that although hand sanitizers help, public health experts still advocate for frequent handwashing.  “Hindi na pwede ang mga saradong palikuran sa mga transport terminals at train stations.   The working and commuting public’s need to wash their hands frequently with soap and water is now a matter of public health,” she further noted.  
The Senator also advocated that those in the frontlines of the transport sector be given protective gear like masks and hand sanitizers to protect themselves from the coronavirus. 

“The risk is high for jeepney and bus drivers, and those who man our train stations. Every day, they are exposed to  hundreds, if not thousands, of people,” Hontiveros said. “DOTr and our transport operators should come up with a mechanism to ensure that our drivers and conductors have access to these protective gear,” she urged. 

“Public transport is a public health issue. We need to provide our commuters with clean, efficient, and safe public transport and public spaces. Otherwise, we are putting them at a higher risk to contract the virus,” she concluded.