MANILA - Pasig Mayor Vico Sotto on Thursday said his city would comply with the national government's directive to ban public transport, including tricycles.
Sotto earlier appealed to government to allow the operation of tricycles, citing difficulties in transporting health workers and other emergency frontliners.
"We just wanted to give them our opinion based on our risk assessment and analysis on the situation here on the ground. But still whatever the national directives are rest assured we will comply and follow," he told ANC's Dateline Philippines.
"What’s important now is that we have a unified policy throughout the NCR and even Luzon. With or without tricycles we’ll continue to do what we can to fix the transport situation especially for our essential workers."
The city is now using some 50 vehicles, composed of buses and coasters, to transport its frontline personnel, Sotto said.
"Our effort is continuous. The challenge is that they come from different areas, they have different needs. We have to take into consideration also these vehicles can’t enter the small roads. But we’ll do whatever we can," he said.
Pasig has begun accepting bicycle donations for frontline personnel after some health workers were forced to walk to hospitals following the suspension of all public mass transport.
The Department of the Interior and Local Government said Pasig should follow the steps undertaken by other Metro Manila mayors to address the transportation problems during the Luzon lockdown, set to end April 12.
“We respect the opinion of Mayor Vico Sotto of Pasig ngunit pasensya na po talaga mayor, hindi po talaga namin kayo pwede pagbigyan,” Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said in a televised briefing.
“If we give an exemption it would defeat the purpose of the entire quarantine…Again, I appeal to Mayor Vico suportahan niyo na lang po itong ating ginagawa, mag-provide po ang LGU ng mga sasakyan. Marami pong sasakyan ang lungsod ng Pasig."
(I appeal to Mayor Vico to support what we are doing. The LGU can provide vehicles. Pasig has many vehicles.)
--With a report from Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News