Malacañang on Wednesday welcomed the plan of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to identify the routes that public utility jeepneys (PUJs) can service once quarantine protocols are further eased.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made this statement after LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra told lawmakers in a congressional hearing on Tuesday that they have identified at least 100 rationalized PUJ routes to be opened if the general community quarantine (GCQ) will be lifted on June 30.
“Orihinal na plano talagang hindi na sila papayagan muli. Eh kasi talaga imposibleng mag-social distancing. So kung nagsalita po si Chair Delgra na baka pupuwede na sa June 30, iyan po talaga ay mabuting balita dahil bagong polisiya po iyan (The original plan is they will no longer be allowed to ply routes. Because it is impossible to observe physical distancing. So when Chair Delgra said that it might be possible on June 30, that’s good news because it’s a new policy),” he said in an interview over Tutok Tulfo Reload.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is expected to roll out the second phase of public transport, which allows public utility buses (PUBs), modern public utility vehicles (PUVs), and UV Express with limited passenger capacity from June 22-30, 2020.
During the first phase from June 1-21, 2020, only trains, bus augmentation units, taxis and Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), shuttle services, point-to-point buses, and bicycles are allowed.
Roque said he will raise before members of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) the possibility of allowing the resumption of PUJ operations if a third tranche of cash aid for drivers and operators is not feasible.
“Sasabihin ko pong muli sa ating mga kasama kung hindi natin sila masisigurado na magkakaayuda para dito sa buwan ng Hulyo na third tranche, eh baka nga puwede na silang payagan ‘no (I will tell our colleagues that if they cannot ensure that there will be no cash aid for the month of July, perhaps they can be allowed to ply routes),” he said.
He, however, acknowledged that the Department of the Interior and the Local Government (DILG) has been hesitant on permitting PUJs to resume operations.
Earlier, Roque said the government is also studying the possibility of introducing a third tranche of subsidy for PUJ drivers.
Roque said the DOTr will facilitate the PUJ modernization program wherein PUJs will have a seating arrangement similar to modern buses instead of the traditional jeepney where passengers face each other.
He said PUJ drivers are also being eyed as contact tracers since the country needs to hire around 120,000 contact tracers nationwide to augment the existing over 30,000 contact tracers
The DOTr’s plan to tap PUJs for delivery services is also being finalized, he added. (PNA)