Press Release
May 11, 2020


Safety protocols should be strictly enforced to prevent the spread of COVID-19 once public utility vehicles (PUV) resume operations, Sen. Grace Poe said.

At the same time, Poe reiterated the need for government support to PUV drivers and operators with the reduced passengers per trip to compensate for the decrease in their take-home pay.

"We will explore the possibility of a progressive resumption of public transportation in the coming weeks," Poe said on Monday's virtual hearing of the public services committee, which she heads.

"The challenge is to restore mobility and livelihood of the drivers without compromising safety amid the pandemic," Poe stressed.

Ramped up disinfection of vehicles every trip, cleaning of the surroundings and making available sanitation kits are among the measures that should be enforced among PUVs and mass transport such as trains.

The no mask, no ride will be strictly implemented. Conductors and terminal personnel will also be equipped with thermal scanner to check every passenger.

An automated fare system, if not the pay before boarding, will be the new method in jeepneys and buses.

Poe called on the public to cooperate and observe proper social distancing as they board the PUVs.

"To our passengers, the most important really is to maintain social distancing, to always wash your hands, to keep a mask on. Otherwise all of these measures will be for nothing," said Poe.

During the hearing, Poe pointed out that government should be on hand in helping PUV drivers and operators survive with the reduced capacity brought about by social distancing.

"Kailangan ituloy ang subsidiya sa kanila dahil mababawasan ang kanilang kita, kung wala nito, lugi ang bawat pasada at baka hindi na lang sila lumabas," she said.

The Department of Transportation said it has submitted its proposal to the Inter Agency Task Force seeking close to P3 billion fund every month, which would include fuel subsidy for drivers, equivalent to 30 percent of their daily fuel consumption.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board also announced that there will be no fare increase when mass transportation resumes operations.

However, Poe emphasized that the routes of PUVs should be carefully studied, so that commuters would not have to transfer from one vehicle to another, which could make them shell out additional fare.

"Naiintidihan natin na meron talagang definite routes, pero hindi lahat pwedeng nag-e-express. Ang mangyayari, tataas ang pamasahe ng mga kababayan natin kung palipat-lipat sila ng sakay," Poe said.

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