THE Joint Task Force (JTF) Covid Shield will beef up police presence in public transport terminals with the resumption of provincial bus operations in Metro Manila beginning Wednesday, September 30, 2020, around six months after Luzon first went into lockdown.

Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, JTF commander, said this is to ensure that commuters as well as the drivers and the operators comply with health protocols such as physical distancing and wearing of face masks to prevent transmission of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19).

“We need to ensure that both the bus company employees and the passengers will observe the minimum health safety standard protocol especially on the aspects of wearing face masks and face shields and the observation of physical distancing inside the passenger buses,” Eleazar said in a statement.

“We also remind the police commanders to make sure that the smoking ban and other minimum health safety standard protocols are also observed inside the bus terminals among the passengers, bus company employees and other people who are allowed entry inside the terminals,” he added.

Eleazar said they also instructed policemen who will be deployed in terminals to familiarize themselves with their area of responsibility and find an ideal place where the passengers could seek help and report quarantine violations for immediate response.

He encouraged passengers to remain vigilant against those who defy the quarantine rules inside the bus terminals and on board passenger buses.

“We already made it easy for the public to report quarantine violations through our jtf.cvshield Facebook page where they could report and even send photos and videos of the quarantine violations. We assure the public of our immediate response and proper actions for any quarantine violation reports and complaints we would receive with regard to the operation of provincial buses,” Eleazar said.

Beginning on September 30, provincial buses may ply 12 modified routes between Metro Manila and the provinces of Pampanga, Batangas, Laguna and Cavite and vice versa.

The provincial buses, however, are prohibited from picking up passengers outside the terminals.

Passengers are prohibited from eating, drinking and talking inside the passenger buses. They are also not allowed to make and take mobile phone calls. (Third Anne Peralta-Malonzo/SunStar Philippines)