March 22, 2023

Plastic dividers will remain a constant fixture inside public utility vehicles in Baguio, as officials and those in the transportation sector have agreed that it is not yet time to remove these dividers.

Traffic Management Division head Januario Borillo said in the Nov. 4 meeting between representatives of the Mayor’s Office, TMD, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, transportation sector, and City Health Services Office, the consensus was to retain the plastic dividers as these are helpful in preventing the spread of the virus that causes the Covid-19 inside public transportation.  

He said the city government will provide free disinfectants to the drivers to ensure the plastic barriers are regularly disinfected.

Drivers only need to bring their container to the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office at Rock Quarry where disinfectants are produced after the city government procured in July its own disinfecting machine.

He said if dividers were removed, jeepneys will only be allowed to accommodate 50 percent of the total passenger capacity. If the barriers are retained, jeepneys will be allowed to accommodate up to 70 percent of the total passenger capacity.

Ang mga pasahero hindi naman nila sinusuot ang mga faceshield nila sa jeep at nakukwentuhan pa kaya kailangan pa rin ang mga plastic divider,” Borillo said.

Executive Assistant IV Althea Alberto added in consultation with the CHSO, the dividers are actually helpful in preventing the spread of the SARS-CoV2 as long as these are regularly and properly disinfected.

She said a monitoring team will be deployed next week to ensure that drivers regularly disinfect the plastic dividers and are implementing minimum public health standards in their vehicles.

“We are on alert level 3. Meaning, we are still on moderate risk at marami ang hindi pa bakunado lalo na ang mga bata so it’s better to retain the dividers,” Alberto said.

Mayor Benjamin Magalong is set to issue an executive order next week about the policy.

Pat Evangelista, president of the association of PUJs in Baguio said they will abide by the directive of the mayor.

Last Nov. 4, the Department of Transportation announced that plastic dividers separating passengers insider public utility vehicles are no longer required. 

The DoTR said there is no medical or scientific basis that these dividers can prevent the spread of the Covid-19. – Rimaliza A. Opiña