DAVAO

Caraga to open borders for bus trips from Davao

SunStar File

CARAGA is set to open its borders for bus trips coming from Davao Region within this week or next week, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) announced.

LTFRB-Davao Director Armand Dioso said in a radio interview that on July 29, the office is finalizing the schedule and the number of bus trips to be deployed.

But Dioso said three routes are initially being targeted to be deployed between two regions.

He also said they are finalizing the requirements and protocols to be imposed.

"Ang among protocol is that we will coordinate these to the concerned LGUs (local government units) na maagian anang bus routes. Basin duna silay health protocol na ipatuman, and at the same time, duna ba silay requirement na pangayuon sa atong pasahero na maggikan sa Caraga Region (Under our protocol, we must coordinate with the LGUs where these bus routes traverse because they might be implementing other health protocols, and at the same time, they might be asking for requirements from passengers coming from Caraga Region)," Dioso said in an interview via 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio.

This will be the first interregional bus trip of Davao Region, following the regional lockdown imposed due to implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

Based on LTFRB's coordination with the Provincial Government, passengers from Davao Region must secure a negative rapid diagnostic test (RDT) test result and a travel authorization permit from the Philippine National Police.

Meanwhile, Dioso said they will raise the matter to the Davao Region Interagency Task Force on Covid-19.

He said the LTFRB will consult the body on what requirements they will be asking from Caraga-origin passengers.

For now, he said other neighboring regions are still not directly accepting bus trips from Davao Region. Instead, they are implementing point-to-point bus trips in order for them to properly screen incoming passengers.

Dioso added that they are continuously coordinating with other regions as they are awaiting their approval before the LTFRB can give a special permit for interregional buses.

"For other regions, we are still awaiting their go signal. Although kanunay atong coordination sa ila. Naay mga [LGUs nga] nag-impose [og] lockdown sa mga boundaries (Although we are continuously coordinating with them. Because there are some LGUs who are still imposing lockdown on their boundaries)," he said.

At present, Dioso said there are already 70 bus trips per day within the region, since bus trips resumed in June this year.

He said almost all provinces in the region are now accepting passengers from Davao City, the Covid-19 hotspot in Davao Region.

Dioso said adjustments were now imposed and implemented, which resulted in the gradual increase of bus trips.

At present, there are one to three bus trips that are traveling from one LGU to another. This measure, according to Dioso, is upon the request of the local government in order for them to thoroughly screen arriving and leaving passengers.

Meanwhile, he reminded bus companies to strictly adhere to the health protocols imposed, including the 50-percent seating capacity limit, one-seat-apart distancing, wearing of face masks, mandatory sanitary hand washing station, and body temperature check upon boarding.

Also, Dioso reminded bus drivers and passengers that a terminal-to-terminal drop off will be imposed. Drivers must not pick up passengers in between terminals.

This is to ensure passengers will be screened properly before they will be allowed to get on the bus, Dioso said.

Land mass transportation such as buses and UV express vans have resumed operation after the entire Davao Region was placed under general community quarantine, and modified GCQ, in accordance to the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) Omnibus Guidelines.

However, Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, who is the Covid-19 Regional Task Force chairperson, said LGUs must impose health screening measures in accepting passengers and riding individuals as this might result in the increase of Covid-19 cases in their localities.

Duterte-Carpio said Covid-19 cases in the city might rise following the resumption of mass transportation.


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