Military sends 24 vehicles for ''essential individuals''
The military deployed at least 24 vehicles to provide free rides for what they called as "essential individuals" after the government suspended the operation of public transportation because of the increasing cases of coronavirus disease 2019 ( COVID-19).
Col. Ramon Zagala, Philippine Army spokesman, said esential individuals includes medical health professionals, food industry personnel and personnel working for other basic services.
Zagala said the Philippine Army has deployed more than a dozen of military trucks to provide transportation assistance since Tuesday night.
"Following the public transportation ban under the Enhanced Community Quarantine, the Army Headquarters and Headquarters Support Group utilized 18 military vehicles to operate within Metro Manila and neighboring municipalities," he said.
"Army vehicles’ routes include Cavitex to Manila area and vice versa; Mall of Asia to Paranaque and vice versa; Guadalupe to SM North, Quezon City and vice versa; Ortigas Center to Sampaloc Manila area and vice versa; Ortigas Mandaluyong to Taytay Rizal and area vice versa; Araneta Center Cubao to SM Masinag, Marikina area and vice versa; as well as SM North EDSA to Fairview Terraces Quezon City, and vice versa," he added.
Zagala said as of Wednesday morning the Philippine Army trucks were able to transport a total of 354 passengers.
"The Army is evaluating the routes and density in order to come out with the new route schedule, to better serve these essential personnel. Once this assessment is made, the Army will announce the schedule," he said.
Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay noted that the Philippine Army “is extending its capabilities in order to provide support it can give specially in transporting essential personnel to their place of destination".
Gapay said the Philippine Army "still encourage non-essential personnel to cooperate with the government and just stay at home”.
“We commend our medical professionals, food industry workers and other essential personnel who provide the needs for our people in this time of medical crisis,” he said.
According to Maj. Gen. Ernesto Torres Jr., acting spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the AFP also deployed two buses and four trucks to transport stranded health workers from Santolan to Balintawak, and vice versa.
"This is part of the effort of the Inter-agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF MEID) in the implementation of expanded community quarantine," he said.
Lt. Commander Maria Christina Roxas, Philippine Navy spokesperson, said through the NTF-NCR, the Philippine Navy has dispatched M35 trucks to transport stranded civilians at EDSA corner Roxas Boulevard.
"Other military trucks and buses stationed at Cavitex, SLEX and Marikina follow as instructed. Other transportation will proceed EDSA and Roxas Blvd North/South bound as required unless otherwise directed by JTF NCR," she said. Robina Asido/DMS