DOTr imposes stricter protocols in transportation in areas under ECQ

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 3, 2021   •   410

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation will impose stricter health protocols in public utility vehicles (PUVs) in areas under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said only authorized persons outside residence (APORs) as identified by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) will be accommodated by public transport services.

The department already retained the current public transport supply and capacity of 50% for areas under ECQ.

“APORs are reminded to be ready to present to transport marshals identification cards issued by the IATF or other documents or IDs as proof that they are authorized to travel,” Tugade said.

During the ECQ, public and private vehicles shall strictly observe the prescribed physical distancing and sanitary measures at all times.

For PUVs, such as buses and jeepneys are allowed to operate at 50% capacity on a “one-seat-apart” setup. Standing passengers will not be allowed, and only one passenger will be allowed at the driver’s row.

For tricycles, operations will depend on the approval of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the local government. If operations are allowed, tricycle passenger load shall not exceed one passenger in the sidecar.

All trains of the Philippine National Railways, LRT-1, LRT-2, and the MRT-3 will have transport marshals to enforce health protocols and to identify APORs. Trains will also be disinfected after every loop. Passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to board trains. Temperature checks will be done at station entrances.

Marshals would be strictly enforcing the seven commandments of public transport safety at the transport stations and terminals, and inside public transport vehicles.

The 7 Commandments for Public Transport, based on the recommendations of health experts, are:

1. Wear masks and face shields;
2. No talking and making phone calls;
3. No eating;
4. Keep public utility vehicles well-ventilated;
5. Conduct frequent disinfection;
6. No passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside public transportation; and
7. Observe appropriate physical distancing (“one-seat-apart”) rule

“We, therefore, remind the riding public of the importance of stringently observing the Public Transport Health Protocols, based on the recommendations of health experts, to protect and uphold the overall welfare of the passengers, and other transport stakeholders,” Tugade said. AAC

Brunei donates 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to PH

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 21, 2021

MANILA, Philippines— Around 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine donated by the Brunei government to the Philippines  arrived at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) on Wednesday.

The said shipment will be allotted for the vaccination of the general public, according to National Task Force against COVID-19 special adviser Dr. Teodoro Herbosa,

Herbosa expressed his gratitude to the government of Brunei on behalf of the Philippines for the vaccine donation.

As of October 20, a total of 91,548,620 COVID-19 vaccine doses from various manufacturers have arrived in the Philippines. AAC

CHED rolls out vaccination of student-athletes in Metro Manila universities

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The government has started the rollout of vaccination among student-athletes in Metro Manila universities.

The Commission on Higher Education (CHED) said this is part of their preparation in case face-to-face classes, physical training, and sports activities in universities will finally be allowed amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

CHED said around 300 student-athletes at the college level have received their first dose of the anti-COVID-19 vaccine.

University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) president Emmanuel Calanog said they will be pushing for the restaging of the basketball league this coming February 2022.

They plan to start training and other activities in November to prepare their athletes for the league.

“That’s November, December, January. We have about three and a half months for them to train to get back to competition to be able to start in February. Yung volleyball naman ang target namin doon is after holy week. So, there is more time. More or less, that’s the schedule. And, of course, what the government will allow at that time,” Calanog said.

He added that basketball and volleyball players in their member schools are already 100 percent vaccinated, and all they are waiting for is the approval of the government for them to resume sports activities.

Member schools, Calanog added, have also conducted retrofitting and adjustment of sports facilities.

Meanwhile, CHED chairperson Prospero De Vera III said they are now preparing the guidelines to be implemented in sports activities in colleges and universities.

“Ngayong marami na ang bakuna, mababa-vaccniate na yung mga estudyante, mga athletes. The only thing we have to do is to tweak the guidelines given these circumstances now,” De Vera said.

“Noong kinrop (crop) yung policy konti pa lang ang bakuna. Ngayong madami na, iba na yung context ng guidelines. So, the guidelines have to be rewritten,” he added.

NTF chief implementer and vaccine czar Carlito Galvez Jr. said 100 percent of student-athletes must be fully vaccinated before the government gives its approval for the resumption of training activities.

“I suggest talagang kailangang ma-vaccinate na natin ng first dose yung lahat ng mga athletes before the end of October para yung second dosing natin we can finish by November. You can start already yung mga practices ninyo,” Galvez said.

“I-encourage na talagang ngayon month maximize na natin talagang bakunahan na natin lahat ng mga athletes so that we can start early the training,” he added.

The NTF and the Department of Education (DepEd), on the other hand, have agreed to intensify the vaccination rollout among teaching and non-teaching personnel at elementary and secondary levels.

DepEd has prepared the list of teachers and school personnel to be submitted to the IATF for the inoculation drive.

“Nakipagpulong ang kagawaran sa NTF, yung vaccination task force ng gobyerno, para ma-accelerate yung vaccination ng ating teachers at ibang school personnel,” said DepEd Director Roger Masapol. —/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Janice Ingente)

House panel approves Motorcycles-for-Hire Act

Maris Federez   •   October 20, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Lower House has approved the bill that seeks to legitimize the operation of motorcycle taxis and craft clear regulations that will be applied on the said mode of transportation as well as that of motorcycle delivery services in the country.

The House Committee on Transportation on Wednesday announced that it has approved the proposed Motorcycles-for-Hire Act.

The proposed bill which awaits deliberation in the House plenary will give way to the drafting of standard operating procedures as well as penalties to be imposed on violators in the operation of motorcycles for hire.

This will guarantee that riders will own the responsibility of ensuring the safety of their passengers or the products that they will deliver.

Motorcycles to be used in such services must be registered under the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in accordance with the Department of Transportation (DOTr) standards.

No modification or alteration must be done in the original make of the motorcycle except for the installation of a top box and motorcycle bracket.

Motorcycle taxi and delivery riders must possess a professional driver’s license.

Failure to abide by these regulations will render fines and cancelation of licenses of riders or revocation of the franchise of the operator.

House Committee chairman and Samar Congressman Edgar Mary Sarmiento said the proposed bill will allay concerns of the riders on the changing policies of the government on motorcycle taxis.

“Masayang masaya na after all these years makakamit na rin po natin ang batas–maisabatas na ang pagre-regulate ng motorcycle taxi na alam naman po natin ginagawa na po ng milyon-milyong ating mga kababayan,” said Angkas co-founder and Chief Operations Advocate George Royeca.

He said their group sees this development as a big help to the riding public amid the pandemic.

“Alam mo, we need as many alternative modes of transportation as we can, lalo na ngayong pandemya. Mobility is very, very important. Because of the limitations of the pandemic, I believe na yung open air ventilation is one of the most important or critical aspects,” Royeca said.

The Senate has already approved its version of the bill.—/mbmf (from the report of UNTV Correspondent Nel Maribojoc)

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