Pandemic response team to soon discuss resumption of provincial bus operations: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 18 2020 05:11 PM

MANILA-- The government's inter-agency task force on COVID-19 response (IATF) will still discuss calls to allow the resumption of provincial bus operations, Malacañang said Thursday.

Provincial buses are supposed to be allowed to resume operations starting June 22 based on the public transport plan of the Department of Transportation.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque however said such plan was based on the assumption that quarantine restrictions in Metro Manila would be further relaxed to a modified general community quarantine. 

The capital region was placed under general community quarantine until the end of the month.

"Pagdating naman po sa usaping provincial buses, pag-uusapan po ng IATF kung papayagan na po ang mga provincial buses na kasama po sa orihinal na plano ng DOTr," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

(The IATF will still discuss allowing provincial buses to operate as part of the original plan of the DOTr.)

"Bantayan po natin at abangan ang anunsiyo ng DOTr kung papayagan nga po ang mga provincial buses sa second phase pagdating po ng June 22, 2020," he added.

(Let's wait for the announcement of the DOTr if provincial buses can operate starting June 22, 2020)

Lawmaker Joey Salceda, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, called on Thursday for the resumption of provincial bus operations, saying “until transport can be made operational, the economy will not fully recover."

"A continuation of provincial bus bans, at this point, would have very little utility as far as preventing infections is concerned, and great damage to the mobility of people who have to go to work,” Salceda said.

The government initially allowed train and bus augmentation units, taxis, ride-hailing cars, point-to-point buses, shuttle services, and bicycles to operate at a limited capacity until June 21.