By Krixia Subingsubing
Banning buses and jeepneys after the national capital shifts to a general community quarantine (GCQ) will be “catastrophic” for an economy on the verge of a crisis, a transport economist warned on Wednesday.
Jedd Ugay, chair of the commuter group Altmobility PH, was reacting to a recommendation made on Tuesday by the 17 mayors comprising the Metro Manila Council to relax quarantine regulations but continue to restrict public transportation in the nation’s political and economic center.
“We think it’s a catastrophic level because it’s an impending economic crisis,” Ugay told the Inquirer.
“You cannot resume the economy without mobility. If there is no public transport and no dedication for active transport, many will lose their jobs or suffer wage cuts because they would be coming in late for work,” he said.
“In terms of the gross domestic product, a big chunk of productivity will be lost, and of course there will also be the issue of income inequality because many will lose their jobs,” Ugay said. “The poor will again be vulnerable in this situation.”
Ugay cited a study by Moveasone, a nationwide transport coalition, that said around 1.49 million people would be affected by the lack of public transport in Metro Manila. About 20 percent, or 298,800, stand to lose their jobs permanently because of restricted mobility.
That would result in P504 million in economic losses per day, according to the study. This doesn’t even take into account the 107,309 transport-related jobs (bus and jeepney drivers, among others), that could be lost because of the ban, Ugay said.
These are just conservative assumptions, he warned.
The full report in today’s issue of the Philippine Day Inquirer