MANILA – Commuters are urged to report violations of health protocols inside public utility vehicles (PUVs), an official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said Wednesday.
“Humihingi po kami ng tulong sa ating publiko na kung meron silang nakitang ganito ay isumbong po sa amin (We’re calling on the public that whenever they see such violations, they must report a complaint to us),” DOTr Undersecretary Artemio Tuazon Jr. said in a Laging Handa briefing.
The government has set minimum health standards in public transportation. These include the mandatory wearing of face masks and shields, no talking and eating, ensuring adequate ventilation, frequent disinfection, barring symptomatic passengers from boarding, and observing appropriate physical distancing.
Tuazon said operators reported for violating health protocols would be issued a show cause order and could face fines or even revocation of their Certificate of Public Convenience or provisional authority.
He said personnel of the Land Transportation Office, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic monitor the compliance of PUV operators.
He called on the Philippine National Police and local government units to help monitor and ensure compliance with minimum health standards of PUVs in their jurisdiction.
Meantime, Tuazon said PUV operators and personnel of the DOTr and its line agencies are authorized to check whether individuals are considered authorized persons outside of residence (APORs) in areas under general community quarantine (GCQ).
“Tinitignan po nila kung talagang essential travel po ito at kung hindi naman, ay ipinapaliwanag sa kanila kung bakit hindi sila pwede pasakayin (They will check if it’s really essential travel if it’s not, it will be explained why they’re not allowed to board),” he said.
During the upcoming Holy Week break, Tuazon said only those considered APORs would be allowed to travel, but “staycations” are still allowed in areas within the GCQ bubble.
The National Capital Region and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal, collectively called “NCR Plus”, are placed under GCQ status from March 22 to April 4 amid the rising number of coronavirus cases.
As of March 24, there are 6,666 new cases of coronavirus in the country, with NCR having the most number of infections.
In an attempt to halt the rise in cases, the public is strongly advised to stay at home and only APORs may go out.
APORs include essential workers, health and emergency frontline personnel, government officials, those in need of transport for medical or humanitarian reasons, those scheduled to board a flight, those who need to travel to their business, workplace, or home, and returning overseas Filipinos and overseas Filipino workers. (PNA)