Employers urge govt. to allow more public transport to help revive economy

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 23) — A group of employers on Tuesday urged the government to allow more public transportation on the roads to boost the economy's recovery from recession.

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines or ECOP noted that limited transportation options right now cannot accommodate the country’s workforce.

“A lot of people still can't go to work because transportation is unavailable — mass transportation. That can do a lot,” ECOP President Sergo Ortiz-Luis told CNN Philippines' New Day.

“When we eased out from ECQ (enhanced community quarantine) to GCQ (general community quarantine), we were saying they should bring back all the available transportation prior to COVID but that did not happen,” he added.

In a similar vein, the National Economic and Development Authority earlier proposed to expand the public transport capacity from 50% to 75%. NEDA also wanted to allow more provincial buses on the roads.

The President has yet to decide on the proposals. However, Duterte has rejected NEDA's other proposal to place the entire country starting next month under modified GCQ — the most lenient community quarantine status. He wants further easing of restrictions to take place after the government has rolled out its vaccination drive against COVID-19, his spokesman Harry Roque said.

For ECOP, the Philippines does not have to be under MGCQ, but “we have to improve the way we are implementing [public health standards] and we have to review the protocols we have so far,” Ortiz-Luiz said.