In the time of COVID-19

Authorities deemed it necessary to declare what it called a Community Quarantine in Metro Manila to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has already infected a number of people in the metropolis.

It is important to note that the main aim is to prevent the coronavirus from spreading beyond the boundaries of Metro Manila and to limit its transmission among residents within the metropolis.

In imposing the Community Quarantine, authorities are striking a balance between restricting the movement—thereby limiting person-to-person contact— of people within the metropolis and ensuring commerce and trade continue to run. At least, the essential trade and exchange of goods and the provision of vital services.

Government leads by example in keeping much of its employees home while maintaining a skeleton staff in offices, bureaus and departments to provide needed services and functions.

Schools and universities have been ordered suspended. Malls have been asked to shut operations. Supermarkets and groceries are allowed to remain open. Large gatherings are banned.

At the same time government has requested the private sector to come up with its own measures — like work at home, staggered schedules, etc — to keep businesses running and the economy moving. And workers still gainfully employed.

By all indications, all these should help reduce the number of people on the road and in public places, and hopefully reduce opportunities for the coronavirus to spread further.

Social distancing is now the catchphrase. Avoid crowds. And if this is unavoidable, avoid crowding. Keep at least a meter away from the other.

Even before the Community Quarantine was enforced, there was a noticeable decrease in traffic congestion. People have begun to stay home to avoid crowds. 

Motorists noticed traffic getting lighter. Fewer cars were on the road. 

But there is still need for public transport. And here government is also attempting to strike a balance between providing adequate transport for commuters and enforcing social distancing to reduce coronavirus transmission.

The Light Rail Transit network, the Philippine National Railways will continue to operate.  Buses, Express UVs, jeepneys, taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Services are still allowed to operate.

But under social distancing protocols. The Department of Transportation issued guidelines to enforce social distancing, setting sitting limits to allow for safe gaps between seated passengers. No standing passengers allowed on buses and modern Class 2 PUVs. Traditional jeepneys must only carry half of capacity. Also not allowed, motorcycle taxi operations.

In implementing the Community Quarantine, checkpoints were set up in strategic junctions. Only those in exemption lists (the official list of the excempted should have been adequately disseminated by now) are allowed past the checkpoints, and only if they don’t exhibit Covid-19 symptoms. Temperature checks are the norm.

Workers heading into Metro Manila to work will be allowed through. Please prepare IDs or other documents as proof.

Trucks carrying vital goods and commodities will also be allowed through but drivers and helpers must pass Covid-19 protocols.

The first day of the Community Quarantine, traffic was light except on roads leading to checkpoints. The commute on public transport was remarkable for being unremarkable. Despite the hasty preparation and notices.

But this happened on a Sunday. 

Monday, the first day of work under Community Quarantine protocols, should provide a clearer picture if these would work to effectively prevent or lessen the rate of coronavirus transmission.

One observation of the first day of Community Quarantine is that many, or most as seen by the optimists, are accepting the need for the protocols and are abiding by them.

It should be a good thing if this acceptance continues even under the weight of increased volume of passenger and vehicles in the metro during the work week while the Covid-19 crisis waxes and until it finally wanes.

Subaru Special

Motor Image Pilipinas, Inc., exclusive local distributor of Subaru vehicles, has brought in the GT Edition of the Forester.       

Basically it’s the Subaru Forester all kitted up with aero kits designed in collaboration with former Subaru design guru Masahiko Kobayashi and manufactured by Giken Co. Ltd.

The integrated aerokit set makes the Forester GT Edition look a lot more sportier with front and rear bumper lip extensions, side skirts, and roof spoiler, plus bespoke eight-inch alloy wheels.

But there’s more to the Forester GT Edition than looks. It comes with bespoke leather design,  new eight-inch Display Audio System with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and a Superview Around Recognition 360 System (360° around-view monitor system), which enables drivers to park and maneuver with ease.

“We are proud to introduce the Forester GT Edition to the Philippines. Now, the Forester looks more rugged yet refined, sophisticated and sporty. It is specially made for those who want to stand out from the crowd and defy convention. With it, we are offering customers here a better line-up, better quality and value. I believe it will excite the market and drive product interest,” said Glenn Tan, one of the top honchos of the Motor Image Group of Companies. 

Happy Motoring!!!

For comments & inquiries, email [email protected] or visit www.motoringtoday.ph.

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