PBOAP appeals for uniform travel requirement policy for commuters

“ More than 2 million Filipinos failed to go to their home provinces during the holidays”
A group of provincial bus operators today sug gests to Local Governments Secretary Eduardo Ano to issue a directive to local government units recommending a uniform set of travel requirements to allow more Filipinos to travel outside the National Capital Region (NCR). More travels mean more opportunities of reopening the domestic economy severely hit by the novel corona virus pandemic.
Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines Executive Director Alex Yague also belies reports that provincial bus operations are already “normalizing.” Only a fraction of bus operators with legitimate special permits issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) are plying our highways due to unique protocols of each LGU.
This “LGU independence” has led to several routes without any bus operations. One example is the route going to the Ilocos region where the Laoag-Pagudpod route remains without bus operations.
Without legitimate buses around, colorum vans and buses take over. Yague says the current situation is making it difficult for both commuters and bus operators to travel outside Metro Manila.
“Now for routes with bus operations to select provinces, several complaints reached us from our commuters blaming us for their inability to travel especially last Christmas. They blame us because we did not inform them of the respective travel documents, unique to each LGU, that they must have when travelling outside Metro Manila. And these required travel documentation is not standard throughout the whole country.”
“Actually, it is not our problem. There is lack of uniformity in travel requirements being imposed right now by local government units. Some LGU’s require swab tests while other only require travel passes. Others require online application from the destination LGU, while others do not. Since our buses usually traverse several provinces that are within a contiguous area, some of our commuters who do not have the travel requirement for one province, are asked not to proceed.
There must be a national policy for this right now,” says Yague.
A directive coming from the DILG would definitely suffice, Yague opines. Government must be clear what to require travelers to possess before they embark on a trip back to their home provinces. An estimated two million Filipino commuters failed to secure a trip back to their home provinces last December. For instance, the Baguio route has 229 public utility buses (PUB) franchises.
Under the general community quarantine (GCQ) period, the Land Transportation franchise and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has issued and released 44 special permits, with only 8 that are really operating.
This represents basically a pittance of less than 3 percent. LGU officials are “controlling number of arrivals into Baguio.” If the Baguio City route is pitiful, much more is the Laoag and Pagudpud route. This has 187 bus franchises but the actual special permits granted by LTFRB is less than 10 percent, at only 18. To date, there has no bus operations in this region, inspite of the issuance of the special permits by LTFRB.
Provincial buses that services the route of Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte cross numerous towns, which impose their respective cross border requirements. No one is servicing this route because of the inconvenience and hassles involved.

Amianan Balita Ngayon