January 31, 2023

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – A transportation official clarified that inter-provincial and inter-regional public transportation is not yet allowed in the Cordillera and other areas amidst the imposed community quarantine.
During the Benguet Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force meeting, Land Transportation Office Cordillera Director Francis Almora said only jeepneys and taxis with special permits given by the LTFRB, as recommended by their respective local government units, are allowed to ply their designated routes but on a limited capacity as prescribed by the National IATF for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Jeepney and taxi units are allowed but they should adhere to strict health protocols and guidelines to prevent the spread of the Covid-19.
Almora made the clarification amidst queries of local officials and other stakeholders on the inter-provincial and inter-regional trips from their respective LGUs.
He said in the past months, they gave special permits to some bus companies and UV express vans for the special trips only to transport locally stranded individuals from the different areas in Luzon to their respective LGUs.
In the past week, the LTO noticed there were social media posts of various groups and individuals offering ride to the public from Baguio City to several areas in Region 1, Region 3, the National Capital Region, and Calabarzon with fare ranging from P2,500 to P4,000 or even higher per individual per trip.
These are illegal and are considered as colorum and human smuggling operations, he stressed.
Almora said smuggling people is considered a health risk as these individuals could be Covid-19 carriers or could be affected in their destination.
He appealed to the public to report to the LTO and the LTFRB if they see such posts as these are illegal, and individuals involved could also bring the virus in the city or the different areas where passengers are picked up or dropped.
LTO already apprehended more than 30 vehicles operating as colorum vehicles transporting individuals to and from areas in the region to other areas of Luzon.
Meanwhile, Almora said back riding in motorcycles will now be allowed only for couples and provided the riders comply with the barrier or protection prescribed by the National IATF. – Redjie M. Cawis