LTFRB OKs OFG-compliant PUJs to ply 15 Metro Manila routes amid GCQ

Maris Federez   •   June 22, 2020   •   417

MANILA, Philippines — Modern public utility jeepneys (PUJs) were given the green light to ply 15 routes starting Monday (June 22) to serve 15 areas in Metro Manila as the transition into the “new normal” continues under general community quarantine (GCQ), according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

In a memorandum circular dated June 19, 2020, the LTFRB said that modern PUJs or those units that have complied with the requirements set by the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) will be allowed to traverse the routes that were initially identified by the board.

The memorandum circular covers “operators of OFG-compliant PUJs that have already consolidated themselves as juridical entities under the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) with valid and existing Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC).”

It also covers operators who “have been granted Provisional Authority (PA) for OFG-compliant PUJs operating in the National Capital Region, and those that will be entering Metro Manila from nearby provinces,” the circular added.

“The resumption of PUJ operations in 15 routes in Metro Manila is part of our calibrated response to restore mass transportation in Metro Manila and in the adjacent provinces as we transition into new normal, taking into consideration the strict health protocols being enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III.

Operators with expired PAs or CPCs who are covered by LTFRB Board Resolution No. 062 dated April 29, 2020 and LTFRB Board Resolution No. 100 dated May 9, 2020 are also covered by the memorandum circular.

With this, LTFRB has allowed 308 OFG-compliant modern jeepneys to ply the initial 15 Metro Manila routes, as follows:

  1. Novaliches – Malinta via Paso de Blas
  2. Bagumbayan Taguig – Pasig via San Joaquin
  3. Fort Bonifacio Gate 3 – Guadalupe-Market Market-ABC Loop Service
  4. Pandacan – Leon Guinto
  5. Quezon Avenue – LRT 5th Avenue Station
  6. Cubao (Diamond) – Roces Super Palengke
  7. EDSA Buendia-Mandaluyong City Hall via Jupiter, Rockwell
  8. Divisoria-Gasak via H. Lopez
  9. Punta-Quiapo via Sta. Ana
  10. Boni Pinatubo – Stop and Shop, vice versa
  11. Boni Robinson’s Complex-Kalentong/JRC vice versa
  12. Nichols-Vito Cruz
  13. Filinvest City Loop
  14. Alabang Town Center (ATC)-Ayala Alabang Village
  15. Vito Cruz Taft Avenue-PITX Loop Service

Several more routes are to be opened for the PUJs on June 24 and 26 to serve other parts of Metro Manila that are adjacent to provinces.

For June 24, 2020:

  1. Bagong Silang – SM Fairview
  2. Malanday – Divisoria via M.H. del Pilar
  3. Parang, Marikina – Cubao
  4. Eastwood, Libis – Capitol Commons
  5. Gasak – Recto via Dagat-dagatan
  6. PITx – Lawton
  7. Alabang – Zapote
  8. PITX – Nichols
  9. PITX – SM Southmall

For June 26, 2020:

  1. Quirino Highway – UP Town Center
  2. SM Fairview – Commonwealth via Regalado Ave.
  3. QMC Loop
  4. Tikling – Binangonan
  5. Antipolo – Pasig via East Bank Road
  6. Rosario – Pinagbuhatan Pasig
  7. West Avenue – P. Noval via Del Monte
  8. Biñan – Balibago via Manila South Road
  9. Tramo – Sucat
  10. San Isidro – Congressional Junction Dasmarinas

The memorandum further stated that “aside from being compliant to the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines, the modern jeepneys that will be plying routes during the GCQ must also be currently registered and with valid personal passenger insurance policies.”

“The modern jeepneys must also be equipped with GNSS (global navigation satellite system) or global positioning system for proper monitoring of movement,” it added.

Also, “as part of the enforcement of health protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (CIVID-19), jeepneys will have to make use of cashless fare payments. Jeepney operators and drivers must make sure that commuters can make use of their mobile apps or contactless smart cards to pay for fares,” the circular read.

It also reminded jeepney drivers, conductors and passengers that wearing of face masks at all times is a must.

It further said that “drivers or operators should provide a disinfecting foot bath for passengers to use before boarding the jeepney, and physical distancing must strictly be observed inside the jeepneys. The passenger load of each jeepney must not exceed 50 percent of its seating capacity (excluding the driver and conductor).”

Passengers, on the other hand, must be one seat apart and that the seats that they will occupy must be properly marked in the vehicle. Also, no standing passengers shall be allowed.

The circular added that “should jeepney operators wish to maximize the 50 percent passenger load of the unit, impermeable barriers to separate the driver’s compartment and between rows of seats that are less than one meter apart, are allowed to be installed.”

Jeepneys plying the identified routes during the GCQ must also properly display the existing fare matrix for the information of the passengers, the circular further read.

Specifically, OFG-compliant non-aircon PUJs will collect a minimum fare of P11 for the first 4 kilometers and P1.50 for each succeeding kilometer, while OFG-compliant airconditioned PUJs will collect P11 for the first 4 kilometers and P1.80 for each succeeding kilometer.

“PUV operators and drivers who fail to comply with any of the aforementioned conditions will be subjected to the imposition of fines/penalties, and/or cancellation or suspension of their certificate of public convenience or provisional authority under Joint Administrative Circular No. 2014-001,” the circular concluded. —mbmf

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Bolsonaro vetos law on obligatory face masks in Brazil

UNTV News   •   July 10, 2020

Digital: PART MUST COURTESY BRAZIL PRESIDENCY.

President Jair Bolsonaro on Friday (July 3) vetoed parts of a law that would have made wearing a face mask obligatory in enclosed spaces where large groups gather, as swathes of Brazil struggle to tame new infections of the coronavirus.

“Today there were various vetoes for legislation that spoke of the obligatory use of face masks, including inside the home. I vetoed (them). No one is going to enter a home and give a fine. I could also have got a fine because I am now without a mask,” he said.

Bolsonaro has regularly flouted social distancing guidelines advised by most health experts, shaking hands and embracing supporters. He has said publicly that his past as an athlete makes him immune to the worst symptoms of the virus.

He has also been widely criticised by health experts for downplaying the severity of the virus which he has dismissed as just “a little flu.” Bolsonaro has pressured governors and mayors for months to reverse lockdown measures and reopen the economy.

Bolsonaro’s veto comes as Brazil nears 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases on Friday. The virus continues to ravage Latin America’s largest country even as cities reopen bars, restaurants and gyms sparking fears infections will keep rising.

Brazil has the world’s second largest outbreak after the United States and the virus has killed over 60,000 people in the country.

In Rio alone, more than 6,600 people have died of COVID-19 in the past four months. Only 14 countries in the world have a death toll higher than the city. Intensive care units in public hospitals are at 70% capacity.

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest and worst-hit city, is expected to open bars and restaurants next week. (Reuters)

(Production: Sergio Queiroz, Leonardo Benassatto, Pablo Garcia, Leandra Camera, Paul Vieira)

LRT-2 stops manual ticket selling to curb spread of COVID-19

Marje Pelayo   •   July 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Following the spike of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection among personnel of the Metro Rail Transit Line 3 (MRT-3), the management of Light Rail Transit Line 2 (LRT-2) has decided to stop manual ticket dispensing in all its stations. 

This is to prevent physical contact and COVID-19 transmission among ticket sellers and commuters.

Instead, all LRT-2 passengers will have to use the ticket vending machines to acquire a ticket.

According to LRTA Spokesperson Atty. Hernando Cabrera, manual ticket selling is not part of LRT-2’s plan upon the resumption of their operations on June 1 but the full use of their ticket vending machines.

“What we did is we start with small stations, This is what is happening now. Talagang lahat na ng istasyon, maliit o malaki, ticket vending machines na ang ginagamit natin wala nang selling sa teller [In all stations, we use ticket vending machines already and no tellers anymore],” Cabrera.

But the LRTA clarified that while the ticket sellers were unloaded of their ticket selling functions, they may still provide passenger assistance such as help for senior citizens and technical problems with ticket dispensing among other concerns.

All single journey tickets will be disinfected before they return to circulation, according to Cabrera.

At the end of the day kapag nakolekta na namin lahat ng single journey ticket dadalhin namin sa depot and then ika-quarantine namin sila for 72 hours,” Cabrera said.

[At the end of the day once we collected all single-journey tickets, we will bring them to the Depot for quarantine for 72 hours.]

By that time, based sa study ay patay na yung virus, saka palang namin sila irere encode and then ibabalik ulit sa sikulasyon,” he added.

[By that time, based on the study that the virus is eliminated, that’s the time we will re-encode and bring them back to circulation.]

At present, LRT-2 has recorded two confirmed COVID-19 cases among its personnel and undergoing quarantine. 

Both patients were office-based and no exposures to passengers. MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

2 areas in San Juan City under lockdown due to spike of COVID-19 cases

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 9, 2020

Two areas in San Juan City are placed under lockdown due to the high number of confirmed coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases.

C. Santos Street in Barangay Balong Bato and J. Eustaquio Street in Barangay Proseso are considered critical zones by the local government of San Juan after a total of 13 COVID-19 cases were recorded.

Seven are from C. Santos Street while six are from J. Eustaquio Street. The two areas will be under lockdown from July 7 to July 22.

Based on National Task Force on Covid-19 Memorandum Circular No. 2, “a street shall be categorized as CrZ (Critical Zone) if at least two (2) cluster of cases, composed of either suspect, probable and/or confirmed COVID-19, are present in different houses, buildings or establishments along a specified street.”

The local government has provided assistance to 255 households affected by the lockdown, while police are deployed to monitor lockdown violators.

Meanwhile, San Juan’s Agora Market will remain closed until July 15 after 23 employees and vendors tested positive for COVID-19. The said market is now under disinfection and sanitation procedure.

As of July 8, the San Juan local government recorded a total of 481 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 134 active cases, 300 recoveries, and 47 deaths.

Based on the report, there is a spike in the daily number of new cases from June 27 compared to the recorded cases from June 15 to June 26. –AAC (with reports from Vincent Arboleda)

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