TRANSPORTATION Secretary Art Tugade has reminded drivers and operators of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to strictly enforce health protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, after receiving reports that the enforcement of health protocols has been lax in some PUVs.
“I am reminding our PUV drivers and operators that they are the government’s partners in the fight against COVID-19. Their participation in this fight is crucial as they are the ones on the frontlines. They should not just ensure that their vehicles are sanitized all the time, but must also be constantly reminding passengers of the need to observe basic health protocols,” said Tugade.
Tugade made the call as Metro Manila and the other adjacent provinces under the NCR Plus bubble are now slowly reopening economic activities, of which public transportation is a key component.
The transport chief likewise reminded passengers to do their share in controlling the spread of COVID-19 by observing minimum health protocols while inside the PUVs, such as wearing face masks, face shields, regular washing of hands, observing proper physical distancing, and not eating or talking while aboard vehicles.
“May pandemya pa ho. Dapat lahat tayo ay sumunod sa pagpapatupad ng proper health protocols gaya ng pagsusuot ng face mask, face shield, palagiang paghuhugas ng kamay at proper physical distancing. Lahat po ay dapat sumunod dito, ikaw man ay pasahero, driver o operator,” said Tugade.
Tugade also repeated his call for the deployment of transport marshals to enforce health protocols inside PUVs as he reminded commuters to be vigilant and be ready to remind their fellow commuters to observe these protocols.
The DOTr chief reiterated his order for the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) to intensify their operations against PUV operators and drivers who will fail to enforce health protocols.
Tugade also stressed that as passengers of the PUVs do their share in controlling the spread of the virus, the drivers, on the other hand, should champion in complying with the minimum health and safety protocols inside the PUVs.
“Failure by the driver and the operator to enforce these health and safety protocols could possibly lead to the suspension or revocation of their franchise, as these can be considered breaches of their franchise conditions. Kung wala namang physical distancing, overloading ‘yan,” Tugade said.
Tugade directed law enforcement and regulatory agencies attached to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to go after the operators of colorum vehicles who are illegally transporting people to and from Metro Manila.
Last April, nearly 80 passengers of colorum vehicles going to the Bicol Region from the National Capital Region (NCR) have tested positive for COVID-19.
“Hindi ho tayo uusad sa ating laban kontra sa COVID kung tahasan nating nilalabag ang mga quarantine protocols. Isantabi muna natin ang pansariling interes para isalba ang buhay ng nakararami,” he said.