THE Department of Transportation (DoTr) said its ongoing railway projects are still on track despite the disruptions from the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

The department also said the major airport projects such as Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Rehabilitation and Bulacan Airport projects will push through as soon as the COVID-19 situation softens.

In a virtual news conference Thursday, Philippine National Railways General-Manager Junn B. Magno reported that the implementation of the Metro Manila Subway Project resumed two weeks ago, and described the delay as “minimal.”

As for the rehabilitation of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) Line 3, he said the department was studying how to “accelerate” the works.

Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said of the major airport projects: “In so far as the NAIA Rehabilitation Project is concerned, there is ongoing checking and rechecking. As far as Bulacan Airport, may approval na yan, groundbreaking na lang (It has been approved and is awaiting groundbreaking). Sa Private airports proposals pwede natin ituloy yan but with mandates of safety and health. May mga balakid in pursuing these things because of ECQ and GCQ (general community quarantine). Itutuloy yan once the pandemic changes favorably (Private airport proposals can proceed but with adjustments for safety and health. We are constrained pursuing these projects because of ECQ and GCQ, but they will proceed one conditions improve).”

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director-General Jim C. Sydiongco said CAAP is planning to go ahead with at least 22 ongoing projects in CAAP-operated facilities that had been scheduled for 2020 but suspended due to the ECQ.

Transportation Undersecretary for Administrative Service Artemio U. Tuazon, Jr. said the department submitted to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) its proposed protocols for the operation of public transportation in both ECQ and GCQ areas.

He said the proposed protocols were included in the omnibus guidelines, for submission to President Rodrigo R. Duterte for his approval.

Under the proposal, public transportation will remain suspended in ECQ areas while a gradual reopening of operations of public utility vehicles (PUVs) with 50% reduced capacity will be implemented in GCQ areas.

The department also proposed to encourage the general public to use bicycles or mobility devices.

It said PUVs will be required to secure special permits to operate in GCQ areas. — Arjay L. Balinbin