While Metro Manila’s public transport remains at a halt due to the Luzon-wide quarantine, the government task force on COVID-19 today said that they are allowing repairs to continue in the city’s ailing train system, despite the extension of the lockdown.
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles said in today’s virtual presser that the COVID-19 task force has approved the Department of Transport’s (DOTr) request to continue working on several projects, including the repair of the MRT-3.
However, Nograles said that only a skeleton workforce will be deployed and that the DOTr is required to provide accommodations and shuttle services for its workers. Regular disinfection of workplaces, transport, and accommodations will be observed during the repair works. The DOTr was also told to monitor the workers if they display COVID-19 symptoms and make sure that they observe social distancing.
The decades-old MRT-3 and the century-old Philippine National Railways both service Metro Manila and nearby areas, and the two train lines are infamous for breaking down regularly.
Mass transport has been suspended since mid-March over Luzon, home to at least half of the country’s 100 million population, to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.
Meanwhile, Nograles said that President Rodrigo Duterte has the discretion to decide if certain areas and business sectors will be exempted during the extended lockdown. The president’s decision will be based on “public health consideration and food security.”
To date, the Philippines has 3,764 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 177 deaths, and 84 recoveries.