By Franck Dick Rosete and Nef Luczon
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY: The local government Thursday warned that public utility vehicles (PUVs) not following strict health protocols face penalties as the city is currently under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ).
Antonio Resma Jr., vice chairperson of Disiplina Muna (Discipline First) Advocacy Team, said drivers and operators face a fine of up to PHP2,000, for not observing the prescribed 50 percent seating capacity for passengers, and a revocation of special permit to operate issued by the Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
Resma said a joint operation with other roads and traffic enforcement agencies will be undertaken to strictly monitor PUVs and even private vehicles compliance with protocols.
“This afternoon (Thursday) we will start to implement multiple checkpoints along the major highways of the city to check compliance with minimum public health standards and protocols for vehicles, whether public or private,” he said.
Ordinance Violation Receipts (OVRs), he said, will be issued to erring PUV and private vehicle drivers, while excess passengers will be ordered to disembark before vehicles may be allowed to pass through checkpoints.
Meanwhile, Benedicto Ramiro, Roads and Traffic Administrative officer, said they will deploy traffic enforcers to monitor all PUVs compliance.
He said most PUVs are still securing the special permits from LTFRB, thus the limited number of jeepneys taking passengers this week, which caused some passengers to get stranded for a long time.
On the third day of the MECQ implementation, a photo taken by commuter, Macmilan Acmad II, went “viral” on Facebook that showed passengers overcrowding in a passenger jeepney as they were about to go to their workplaces.
One netizen, Maria Soledad, said public transport operations should be stopped so that people will be controlled from going out. She said as long as there are transportation available, people would tend to go out even for non-essential purposes. Affected drivers, she added, must be given aid by the local government.
Another netizen, Mildred Tado, said it is easy for some people to say that public transport should be stopped because they have private vehicles.
One Mary Faith Trinidad-Otbo said public commuters have no choice but to go to work, otherwise these people will not have food to eat.
Ramiro said he understood the current situation as well as the sentiments of the PUV drivers and passengers but the city government is appealing for the driver’s cooperation in the fight against Covid-19.
Philippine News Agency