MANILA – Public utility buses (PUBs) will be allowed to operate but can only load half of their actual passenger capacity in areas under the general community quarantine (GCQ), Interior Secretary Eduardo Año said on Thursday.
“Under GCQ, ang buses papayagan na rin ‘yan pero 50-percent capacity at mayroon dapat provisions diyan ng minimum health standards. Yung mga upuan niyan ay hindi talaga dapat uupuan lahat, may alternately… nasa kanan ‘yung una, ‘yung susunod nasa kaliwa [buses will be allowed to operate at 50-percent capacity and there should be provisions on minimum health standards. Not all seats will be filled. There will be alternate seating. For instance, the first passenger is on the right, the next is on the left] and so on and so forth,” Año said in a television interview.
Under the GCQ, taxis and motorcycles will also be allowed but back-riding remains prohibited.
Bus terminals would also implement a “log-in” system for passengers for possible contact tracing measures.
“Sa mga bus terminals, ire-refer na rin natin yung pag-log in ng mga pangalan diyan [In bus terminals, we will refer logging of names there] for possible contact tracing. Should there be a case of (coronavirus disease 2019) transmission, we can easily trace them. This is going to be our life now. Everything has to be recorded because we have to contact trace,” he said.
Año said old jeepneys may be allowed to operate upon the approval of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“Ang problema kasi sa traditional jeepney magkakalapit at magkakaharap, kapag dumaan ‘yung pasahero diyan ay talagang almost face to face na rin ‘yung kanilang distansya [The problem with traditional jeepney is that passengers are near and almost face-to-face with each other. Once a passenger passes, they have face-to-face distance] So one way is to reconfigure the seats and have it approved by DOTr and probably it’s time for us to modernize our jeepneys,” he added.
He added that jeepneys could also be used for making deliveries.
Año said he has ordered the local government units (LGUs) to establish bicycle lanes as many use these as the primary mode of transportation since public transport remain suspended in Metro Manila which is currently under a modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
He also urged people to use bicycles for these are “safe and cost-effective.”
In a meeting on Tuesday, the Metro Manila Council unanimously recommended the implementation of GCQ in Metro Manila beginning June 1.
Meanwhile, Año clarified that only essential workers are allowed to go out of their houses.
He said that workers in essential industries that are allowed to operate should only show their company IDs or other certificates at quarantine control points (QCPs) for them to be allowed to pass.
Año made this statement after the DILG 24/7 Emergency Operations Center and DILG Philippines’ official social media account were flooded with queries about travel passes.
The department said it has also been receiving feedback from the DILG regional and field offices that workers endured very long queues just to get travel authority before they can report back to work.
He cited an incident in Rodriguez, Rizal where residents in Rodriguez, Rizal endured two days of very long queues just to get a travel pass so they can report back to work in Metro Manila.
He said the department has already coordinated with concerned LGUs to correct this wrong practice and provide them with guidance on this matter. (PNA)