MANILA, (Mabuhay) — ACT-CIS party-list Representative Jocelyn Tulfo on Thursday urged the government to adopt guidance from international health organizations against COVID-19 to keep windows open and let air circulate in public utility vehicles as it gradually allows the resumption of operations of public transportation in many areas of the country.

In a statement, Tulfo said fresh air, open windows, open air spaces, and non-recirculation of air in enclosed spaces are part of the advisories and guidance on COVID-19 of the US Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, European Union, Australia Department of Health, and Hong Kong’s Center for Public Health.

“Their guidance, I believe, constitute more than enough sound, rational inputs to the Philippines’ adoption of public transport and workforce policies to gradually allow strictly enforced gradual resumption of public transport nationwide, including public utility jeepneys, motorcycle taxis, buses, and UV express,” she said.

Tulfo said that based on these guidelines, it is safer for the passengers that the windows of the vehicle they are riding are open, the curtains raised, and air conditioning units turned off.

“Importanteng naka-face mask, walang sintomas ng COVID-19 tulad ng pag-uubo at lagnat, at hindi siksikan sa loob ng sasakyan ang sinumang nasa pampublikong sasakyan,” she said.

“Mag-spray ng running alcohol sa mga bagay na nahahawakan ng ibang tao. Palaging magdala ng alcohol at hand sanitizer. Mayroon din dapat naka-standby na alcohol o hand sanitizer dispenser sa mga pampasaherong jeep, taxi, TNVS, UV express, o bus,” she added.

The government allowed the resumption of the operation of more buses and modern jeepneys in Metro Manila earlier this week as quarantine restrictions in the region ease up.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board also announced on Wednesday that UV Express and traditional jeepneys would also be allowed to resume their operations next week.

Apart from adopting guidelines from international health bodies, Tulfo also proposed to mobilize and deploy more barangay health workers (BHWs) to transport terminals and designated pick-up points in barangays.

“The BHWs are needed there to make sure minimum health standards are enforced, to conduct symptoms screening on commuters and drivers, and maintain and safely keep contact tracing records,” she said.

“The COVID-19 new normal has exposed how vital the roles of BHWs are, as ‘infantrymen’ of the LGUs and the Health Department in our war against all kinds of public health menace. BHWs deserve ample benefits like honoraria, hazard allowance, subsistence allowance, transportation allowance and some non-cash compensation,” she added.  (MNS)

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