The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) wants the government to consider public transportation as an essential industry, should the government decide to partially lift the quarantine next month.

In a recent statement, the country’s largest business group said that restrictions in the movement of goods had become problematic for the supply chain, despite the exemptions extended during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

If the government decides to partially lift the quarantine in Luzon, PCCI recommended that public transportation should be allowed to operate, while still observing social distancing.

“In the event that the definition of essential industries is expanded, one of the sectors that must be included is the public transport sector,” the group said.

The recommendation comes several weeks after workers in essential industries like supermarkets and hospitals were left on their own to figure out how to get to work, giving many of them no choice but to walk previously unimaginable distances. The government wanted the private sector to provide their own accommodation for their skeleton staff, or shoulder their transportation—an option that many companies did not readily have.

“Tight control over the movement of goods have caused delays and cancellations in deliveries and affected the supply of essential commodities in some areas of the country,” the group said.

“For companies that were allowed to continue their operations amid the ECQ, restrictions on public transportation have disrupted the mobility of workers and posed additional costs to employers,” PCCI said.

“Premised on the future decision of the IATF (Inter-Agency Task Force) to partially lift the Luzon ECQ, PCCI recommends the partial lifting of the

public transport sector in support of the slow but steady journey toward economic normalcy while strictly enforcing social distancing policy,” PCCI said.

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