CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-10 (LTFRB-10) is negotiating with local governments in other regions in Mindanao to open its borders for buses doing inter-regional routes.
The reopening of bus routes in Mindanao would be beneficial to businesses and people, said Aminoden Guro, LTFRB-10 regional director, in an interview Wednesday.
Guro said Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade has already instructed the LTFRB regional offices to coordinate with the local chief executives to allow buses to ply their usual routes, especially in the Zamboanga Peninsula, Cotabato, and General Santos City.
The national government has placed most areas in Mindanao under the modified general community quarantine as the country is still battling the coronavirus pandemic, which placed certain restrictions on border travels.
Guro said that although local leaders have discretion to close their borders to inter-regional buses, the national inter-agency task force may intervene if the strict restrictions may have contributed to the sagging local economy.
“There should be balance. We have to reopen these routes but we must not also sacrifice the health of our people. Of course, (minimum) health standards must still be observed,” he said.
These health standards include the compulsory wearing of face mask and face shield, physical distancing, washing of hands among passengers and bus personnel.
For its part, the Yanson Group of Bus Companies (YGBC), whose fleet of buses that travel across Mindanao such as Rural Transit Mindanao, Bachelor Express and Mindanao Star Bus Transport, said it welcomes the move of the LTFRB and DOTr to revitalize the inter-regional bus operations.
“That’s what we are hoping for. We have been waiting for the LTFRB to reopen our usual routes. This has been the clamor of our passengers,” said Celer Estologa, YGBC media relations officer for Mindanao.
The reopening of the routes would also mean that YGBC’s hundreds of employees, specifically its drivers and conductors, could now get back to work, he said.
Estologa has assured that YGBC has been compliant with the health protocols set by the IATF since the national government has declared a state of public health emergency due to the coronavirus pandemic early last year.
“Once our buses are allowed back on the road, we will implement an even stricter health measures for the safety of the riding public,” he added. (davaotoday.com)Bus, davao city, Land Transportation Office, Mindanao, Northern Mindanao, Transportation