CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – In the wake of the community quarantine and lockdown being implemented by local government units all over Mindanao due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) threat, bus companies and other public transport providers in Region 10 continue to operate within the region.

Buses and public utility vehicles are allowed to run as long as they comply with “social distancing” and other measures to keep passengers safe as ordered by the Department of Health and Department of Transportation, said Aminoden Guro, regional director of Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-10 (LTFRB-10) in a press briefing Friday.

Taxis in the city are allowed to carry three passengers, while jeepneys are allowed to load half the total seating capacity of their units, with passengers sitting one seat apart.

Buses also adopt the one-seat-apart rule issued by Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

The Rural Transit Mindanao Yacapin branch continues to ply their routes in Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental, and Lanao del Norte.

Their manager, Jessi Boy Lentorio, said they provided handwashing stations at the city’s two bus terminals, aside from subjecting passengers and personnel to thermal scanning.

Lentorio assured the public they are following health guidelines for their health concerns.

“All our buses are disinfected before the trip, and all passengers are one seat apart, at 50 percent capacity of the bus,” Lentorio said.

The Donsals Transport Corporation still operates its coaster buses within the city and as well as in some towns on the western side of Misamis Oriental.

Donsals’ chief executive officer Donald Rey Ellarina said that although they follow the one-seat-apart policy, they accommodate passengers who have waited long in bus stations who needed a ride.

“In consideration of these passengers, we just see to it that they wear a face mask and they must clean their hands with alcohol we provided,” he said.

Ellarina admitted that Donsals is losing money as there are now fewer passengers as compared to before the Covid-19 outbreak, but insists on plying their routes especially for personnel working in hospitals.

“Despite our losses, we still continue to serve, especially our health practitioners and uniformed personnel so they can get home after their duty,” he said.

As the buses continue with their services, CdO Mayor Oscar proposed a synchronized checkpoint system with LGUs in Misamis Oriental to harmonize the operation of the police and medical personnel manning the checkpoints.

The proposal was initially made with Mayors Maximino Seno of Opol; Jennie Rosalie Uy of Villanueva; and Gomer Sabio of Tagoloan. Misamis Oriental Governor Yevgeny Emano is also amenable to the proposal.(

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