LTO sets up guidelines for registration of e-scooters

Marje Pelayo   •   September 23, 2020   •   220

MANILA, Philippines — The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has pushed governments to impose transport restrictions to curb virus transmission among commuters.

As an alternative to common modes of transportation, the public resorted to old-school bicycles and its modern counterparts — the e-scooter and e-bikes.

Such vehicles have been helpful to some especially healthcare professionals and other essential workers who are spared from facing the hassle of commuting to work on mass transportation and the risk of infection that it entails.

“Iyong convenience ng e-scooter? Never na ako nag-commute ulit ever since October 2019,” said Syd Henrie Arriesgado, an occupational therapist who goes to work on his e-scooter.

“Pupunta ako sa work, nag-i e-scooter na lang ako,” he added.

Syd is one of the many individuals who now own such a vehicle but are not covered by any transport regulation at the moment. 

This is why, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) is now drafting a guideline that will regulate the use of e-scooters by updating the provisions of Republic Act 4136 or the Act to Compile the Laws Relative to Land Transportation and Traffic Rules.

Under the existing law, any vehicle that uses oil fuel or electricity must be registered and the owner should possess a valid license.

The LTO also stressed that the use of e-scooters must be governed by a certain law since it is small in size and requires balancing which is prone to accidents.

The agency is awaiting the approval of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) on the proposed guidelines.

“Una, kailangan may lisensya o rehistrado. Pangalawa, kung saan pwedeng gamitin, anong klaseng lansangan pwedeng gamitin. Pangatlo ano ang kailangang protective gear na suot nila para naman kung hindi ma-prevent ay mabawasan ang injuries,” explained LTO Chief and DOTr Undersecretary Edgar Galvante.

But an e-scooter advocate group, “Electric Kick Scooter” questioned the timing of the guideline’s release.

“I can’t really take it against LTO. Mandato ng Constitution but the thing is it’s really bad timing during this pandemic season. Ang mga frontliners ito ang ginagamit na mode of transportation,” argued Tim Vargas, the group’s chairman.

Galvante on the other hand, said, “Hindi dito iniisip ang ill-timing. Kung ang kino-consider siguro ay safety, wala ritong tamang timing.”

The LTO, however, cannot tell yet as to when the guidelines will be released, but assured the public of prompt issuance once DOTr greenlights the proposal. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

Duterte to announce quarantine classifications for November tonight

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 26, 2020

President Rodrigo Duterte will announce the new quarantine classifications for November on Monday (October 26) evening, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque.

“We will proceed with our meeting with him via Zoom at inaasahan pa rin pong magre-report ang ilang miyembro ng Gabinete lalong lalo na dito sa quarantine classifications (and we expect several Cabinet members will also present their report especially for the quarantine classifications),” he said during a press briefing.

Roque also confirmed the technical working group of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) already has a recommendation regarding the quarantine classifications.

The Palace official also confirmed that the President already assigned a vaccine czar two months ago. This was after the proposal of Senate President Pro Tempore Ralp Recto in order to prepare for the needed storage facility and the system for vaccine distribution.

“Two months ago, I recalled si Presidente may tinalagang vaccine czar kaya lang po, iyong naitalagang vaccine czar is hesitant when I asked him if I could remind the public that he has been designated as a vaccine czar kasi baka hindi na raw po maalala ni President. So we would like to wait for the Pesident to make an announcement anew (I recalled, two months ago, the President already assigned a vaccine czar. However, the assigned vaccine czar was hesitant when I asked him if I could remind the public that he has been designated. He said the President may have forgotten already so we would like to wait for the President to make the announcement anew),” Roque said. AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

DFA reports one new COVID-19 case among overseas Filipinos

Marje Pelayo   •   October 26, 2020

MANILA, Philippines –  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Sunday (October 25) reported one new case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) among overseas Filipinos from the Asia and the Pacific.

Also, no new fatality and no new recovery were reported. 

To date, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases among Filipinos abroad is at 11,199.

Meanwhile, the tally of fatalities is still at 815 while recoveries remain at 7,248.

The Middle East and Africa continue to be the combined regions with the most number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and have recorded the most number of deaths at 7,376 and 532, respectively. 

The DFA vows full commitment in monitoring the situation of overseas Filipinos who are affected by the pandemic and remains steadfast in promoting and protecting their welfare.

Relaxed travel restrictions still pose health risks—UP OCTA Research

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 23, 2020

Experts from the University of the Philippines (UP) OCTA Research team said relaxed travel restrictions may still pose health risks.

Dr. Guido David, team member of the UP OCTA Research, said it is too early for the country to accept inbound travels and that further review is needed to avoid coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission.

“There’s a surge happening right now in Europe so if we were not careful, maraming cases [there are a lot of cases] outside the Philippine, in Europe and certain parts of the world, kasama pa rin diyan iyong sa (these includes) the United States and India. So we have to be careful about letting people,” he said.

David also said despite the drop of COVID-19 cases in Metro Manila, there is still a possibility for cases to increase if no safety measures is implemented.

“We’re also a bit worried because the rate of decrease in NCR is not that low anymore. It’s very slow. So it could be, the trend might be reversing anytime,” he added.

Services of Red Cross should also resume first, according to David, because its testing capacity covers 1/4 of the total testing capacity of the country. He also reiterated the need for the public to cooperate in order to fight against the virus.

“The public should be aware that the virus is still here. That the pandemic is not yet over. So if they’re loosening restrictions, responsibility is in the public in deciding whether or not they want to go out,” he said. -AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda).

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