Government offers free rides amid Luzon lockdown

(Photo from DOTr)

THE government deployed vehicles in strategic areas in Metro Manila to transport stranded passengers, especially health workers who need to report to work, as public transport systems ground to a halt amid the lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The Armed Forces of Philippines (AFP) deployed a total of 22 military trucks and two buses Wednesday.

Philippine Army spokesperson Colonel Ramon Zagala said nine trucks will serve the route between Edsa-Santolan in Quezon City and the Mall of Asia in Pasay City while nine others will ferry workers between Edsa-Santolan and Masinag in Antipolo.

Major General Ernesto Torres Jr., AFP spokesperson, said the buses and the four other trucks will serve the route between Edsa-Santolan and Balintawak in Quezon City.

The Philippine Navy also deployed M35 trucks which will serve passengers in Edsa corner Roxas Boulevard in Pasay City, and Cavite Expressway, South Luzon Expressway, and some parts of Marikina.

"They will ply this route and determine volume and need so a schedule can be determined. This will be regular and daily, to ferry health workers, and other essential and authorized personnel," Zagala said.

The AFP said the routes and scheduled may be adjusted depending on the demand.

Only those exempted from the lockdown will be allowed to get on these buses and trucks, officials stressed.

Meanwhile, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), has tapped private bus companies to provide free rides.

The Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) and the BFCT East Metro Transport Terminal in Marikina City were identified as pick-up points.

Buses from PITX will have two routes, one heading to Quezon City General Hospital via Makati and Pasig which will pass through Makati Medical Center, St. Lukes Medical Center – BGC, Rizal Medical Center, The Medical City – Ortigas, East Avenue Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center and Lung Center of the Philippines while the other will be towards San Lazaro Chinese General Hospital via Manila/Taft which will have stops at Pasay City General Hospital, Adventist Medical Center Manila, Philippine General Hospital, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, Manila Doctors Hospital, University of Sto. Tomas Hospital, San Lazaro Hospital and Jose R. Reyes Memorial Medical Center.

Buses coming from the BFCT terminal will head towards San Lazaro Hospital via East Ave/E. Rodriguez and will pass through Quirino Memorial Medical Center, East Avenue Medical Center, Philippine Heart Center, Lung Center of the Philippines, Providence Hospital, Capitol Medical Center, St. Luke’s Medical Center - East Avenue and University of Sto. Tomas Hospital.

The Office of the Vice President has also made arrangements in order to provide free rides for the health workers.

The scheduled pick-up hours is at 6 a.m. at the starting point and 11:30 a.m. at the end point of the routes.

The routes of the OVP free rides are as follows:

  • RITM Alabang
  • Magallanes SLEX MRT (via Osmeña Highway, via Quirino Ave.)
  • LRT Taft Avenue
  • Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health
  • LRT Lawton station
  • LRT Carriedo station
  • LRT Recto station
  • LRT Tayuman station
  • Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center

  • Heritage Hotel EDSA extension (via Roxas Blvd., via Quirino Ave.)
  • LRT Taft Avenue station
  • Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines-National Institute of Health
  • Manila City Hall (via Quiapo)
  • UST Hospital
  • United Doctors Medical Center (via Welcome Rotonda, via Quezon Avenue)
  • Philippine Orthopedic Center (Banawe, via Araneta Avenue)
  • MRT Quezon Avenue station

  • SM MOA Globe EDSA
  • MRT and LRT EDSA Taft station
  • MRT Magallanes station
  • MRT Guadalupe station
  • MRT Shaw station
  • MRT Cubao station/ LRT2 (via Aurora Blvd., via C5 extension)
  • Quirino Memorial Medical Center (via C5 / Marcos Highway)
  • LRT2 Santolan station
  • Sta. Lucia East Grand Mall, Cainta

  • EDSA extension/ Macapagal Avenue
  • LRT/MRT EDSA Taft station
  • MRT Magallanes station
  • MRT Shaw station
  • MRT/LRT2 Cubao station
  • East Avenue Medical Center
  • Philippine Heart Center
  • Lung Center of the Philippines (via Quezon Memorial Circle)
  • Veteran Memorial Medical Center (via EDSA)
  • LRT Monumento station

  • SM Fairview (via Commonwealth Ave, via Quezon Memorial Circle)
  • East Avenue Medical Center
  • Philippine Heart Center
  • Lung Center of the Philippines (via Agham Road, via Quezon Ave.)
  • Philippine Orthopedic Center
  • United Doctors Medical Center (Welcome Rotonda, via España)
  • UST Hospital
  • LRT Lawton station

  • LRT Balintawak station
  • MRT Quezon Avenue station
  • MRT GMA –Kamuning station
  • MRT Cubao station
  • MRT Santolan–Annapolis station
  • MRT Ortigas station
  • EDSA corner Kalayaan Avenue
  • MRT Ayala station
  • MRT Magallanes station
  • Heritage Hotel EDSA extension

The AFP, DOTr and the OVP said the routes and schedules may be adjusted depending on the demand and requests from the Department of Health.

Authorities assured that preventive measures such as checking of body temperature, social distancing, wearing of face mask and sanitation will be strictly observed.

The OVP said they will also take down the names of the passengers for possible contact tracing.

They have also assured the safety of their personnel manning the pick-up points by providing protective gear.

Major General Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) director, said the Ceres buses has lent the NCRPO 12 buses which will be used by the PNP personnel deployed at quarantine checkpoints in the NCR.

President Rodrigo Duterte placed the entire Luzon under enhanced community quarantine on Monday, suspending public transport systems and mandating everyone to stay at home until April 14, 2020.

Quarantine checkpoints have been established at the borders of Metro Manila to limit the movement of the people.

Only health workers, people transporting food and medical practitioners are allowed to pass through the checkpoints.

On Tuesday evening, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, who is also the spokesperson of the Inter-Agency Task Forces for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases, said the task force will issue accreditation IDs to others who are also exempted from the home quarantine.

He said delivery services, workers of supermarkets and drugstores, those transporting food, medicine or other basic necessities were among those allowed outside their homes during the quarantine period. (SunStar Philippines)


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