LTFRB warns PUV drivers, operators overcharging fares amid Metro Manila quarantine

Robie de Guzman   •   March 16, 2020   •   1887

MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has warned to slap sanctions against public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators overcharging passengers amid the government-enforced community quarantine in Metro Manila against the spread of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

The LTFRB issued the warning following reports that some public bus drivers and operators are charging extra due to the passenger limit.

“The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board has received reports of Public Utility Bus (PUB) drivers and operators overcharging passengers amid an ongoing pandemic of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19),” LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III said in a statement.

“The LTFRB strongly condemns such practices of taking advantage of the public while the country is gripped by a State of Public Health Emergency, or any crisis thereof,” he added.

Some commuters have complained about drivers of buses and UV express vehicles asking passengers to pay double to compensate for the reduced passenger volume they are allowed to ferry due to the social distancing being enforced on all modes of public transportation.

Under the government’s transportation restriction guidelines, UV express vehicles may only carry six people, including the driver, at any given time. Passengers must also maintain a distance of one seat from one another.

Public buses should not have more than 25 passengers including driver and conductor, without any standing passenger. Passengers should be one seat apart.

Public jeepneys, on the other hand, should not board more than half of their regular capacity including driver, while taxis or Transportation Network Vehicle Services (TNVS), including accredited airport taxis should not have more than four passengers, including driver.

One seat apart distance between passengers should be maintained.

Delgra emphasized that transport operators “under no circumstances” should raise fares unless otherwise approved by the Board.

“An action like this is in clear violation of the agency’s policies,” he said.

Should they be found guilty of violating LTFRB’s policies, Delgra said franchise holders will be subjected to penalties under Joint Administrative Order 2014-01, with the possibility of cancellation of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPC), among other sanctions.

He also urged PUV operators to not take advantage of the ongoing situation experienced in Metro Manila, and to keep in mind the safety and security of the riding public.

Daily COVID-19 cases sa NCR, posibleng madoble kung hindi magpapatupad ng hard lockdown — OCTA

Robie de Guzman   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Naniniwala ang OCTA Research group na dapat magpatupad ang pamahalaan ng “circuit breaker” lockdown upang mapigil ang posibilidad ng lubhang pagkalat ng Delta COVID-19 variant sa bansa.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Prof. Ranjit Rye, maaaring magpatupad ng dalawang linggong enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) o kaya ay modified ECQ upang hindi magaya ang Pilipinas sa sitwasyon sa mga kalapit bansa nang kumalat ang Delta variant.

“What we’re envisioning is something along MECQ, ECQ. They will depend on the government and the amount of precaution we need… It was a precautionary recommendation because of an impending, clear, and present danger post of Delta,” ani Rye.

Sa pagtaya ng grupo, kapag hindi naagapan ay maaaring makapagtala ng 1,500 hanggang 3,000 kaso ng COVID-19 kada araw sa National Capital Region sa susunod na dalawang linggo.

Ayon kay OCTA Research fellow Prof. David Guido, nasa 1.33 na ngayon ang COVID-19 reproduction number sa NCR.

Halos kapareho aniya ito ng reproduction rate nang magkaroon ng surge noong unang bahagi ng 2020.

“It looks like it is manageable this time but it may no longer be manageable if we wait too long, before we make a crucial decision in our pandemic management,” ani Guido.

“We are averaging 1,000 cases. Two weeks ago it was just 600, and we thought it was decreasing, but something is driving the pandemic and pushing the caseload higher,” dagdag pa niya.

Dapat ding iwasan na umabot pa ang bansa sa worst-case scenario at umabot sa critical level hanggang 100% full ang hospital capacity sa NCR sa buwan ng Agosto.

Kasabay ng mga paghihigpit ng quarantine classification ay ang tuloy tuloy at mas mabilis na COVID-19 vaccination sa bansa.

Inirerekomenda rin ng grupo na paikliin ang interval sa pagbibigay ng doses ng Sinovac at AstraZeneca vaccines.

“Ramp up vacination even while we’re on lockdown. We can still do it,” ani Rye.

“OCTA is exhorting government to focus on its plan, we believe its plan will work in which the NCR plus 10. I was told by Sec. (Carlito) Galvez some time in August, 2 million Moderna vaccines are coming through as a donation from the United States,” dagdag pa niya.

Samantala, inayunan naman ni Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Secretary Joey Concepcion ang panukalang ito ng OCTA.

“If the government, DOH Secretary Duque will push for a two-week hard lockdown, we will support it because we will prefer to solve the problem early and not wait for the problem to get bigger, then we will have to lockdown for months. That is the most catastrophic thing that could happen in our country if that happens in the 4th quarter,” ani Concepcion.

Una nang ipinahayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte sa kaniyang huling State of the Nation Address na kung kinakailangangan ay magpapatupad muli ng lockdown ang pamahalaan dahil sa banta ng Delta variant

Patuloy ang pakiusap ng mga awtoridad sa publiko na maging responsable, huwag magpakampante at magpabakuna na upang makaiwas sa mas mabagsik na Delta COVID-19 variant. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

Close to 3,000 contact tracers trained; 1,800 deployed — TESDA

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) has announced that the government has already trained close to 3,000 contact tracers and has deployed almost 1,800 of them.

During a virtual public briefing on Wednesday (July 28), TESDA Deputy Director-General Aniceto Bertiz said that aside from the programs allotted for overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and individuals who lost their jobs to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, TESDA is also training individuals to become contact tracers.

“We were able to produce 2,978 contact tracers all over the country. Halos 1,800 of those are already hired sa mga local government unit (LGUs) (Almost 1,800 of those are already hired by local government units),” he said.

The TESDA official also said they continuously coordinating with LGUs and other industries for the new contact tracers to be hired especially amid the threat of the Delta variant.

Bertiz, meanwhile, said the free upskill training of TESDA will help in lowering the number of unemployed and underemployed Filipinos in the country.

Hinuhubog natin ang ating mga kababayan na magkaroon ng bagong kakayahan and at the same time, we are connecting them hanggang kabuhayan (We are honing our fellowmen to acquire new skills and at the same time, we are connecting them to have livelihood),” he said. -AAC

DOTr inaugurates PH’s longest bike lane network in Metro Manila

Aileen Cerrudo   •   July 28, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has inaugurated the Philippines’ longest bike lane network in Metro Manila on Tuesday (July 27).

DOTr Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Mark Steven Pastor said the bike lane can accommodate 1,250 cyclists per hour for every meter of road space.

The Metro Manila Bike Lane Network has an overall length of 313 kilometers and cuts through 12 cities: Pasig, Marikina, Quezon City, Caloocan, Manila, San Juan, Mandaluyong, Makati, Pasay, Las Piñas, Parañaque, and Taguig.

“With the completion of bike lanes, cyclists are provided with safe spaces on the road as they pedal to work and to other places,” according to DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade in his message delivered by Pastor.

May lugar na para sa ating mga siklista dito sa ating pangunahing kalsada. Malaking hakbang po ito nang sa ganoon ay mabago natin ang nakagawiang sistema at maitanim natin ang kultura, disiplina at kaayusan sa ating kalsada (There are now areas for our cycliss on major roads. This is a huge step for us so that we can change the old system and instill culture, discipline, and order on our roads),” Pastor said.

Meanwhile, the transport official also shared that other parts of Metro Manila will also have their own bike lanes soon.

Pastor said there will be a South National Capital Region (NCR) which was procured by the Department of Public Works and Highways together with DOTr, which will be  Las Piñas, Muntinlupa at Parañaque. AAC

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