MANILA, Philippines – The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) has rejected the request of Cebu mayors to allow jeepneys to resume operations following the province’s transition to general community quarantine (GCQ).
Cebu Governor Gwendolyn Garcia shared this when asked for an update on the mayors’ request.
She said workers who rely on public transportation, especially jeepneys, would be the ones most affected by the policy imposed by the national government to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease.
“That’s the predicament many are in now…. They’re going back to work coming from hardship then now their hardship continues,” Garcia said in Cebuano.
“Sometimes it is so difficult if there is a national policy that does not seem to consider reality on the ground and what the people need,” she also said.
On June 3, Garcia and Cebu mayors met with the Central Visayas offices of LTFRB, the Department of Transportation (DOTr), and Land Transportation Office (LTO); and the Department of the Interior and Local Governance (DILG)-Cebu to discuss modes of public transportation under GCQ.
They tackled the resumption of jeepney operations in cities and municipalities that do not have public utility buses (PUBs).
Under the LTFRB Memorandum Circular 2020-017, public buses are the preferred modes of transport. The circular also provided a hierarchy of alternative means of public transport in “areas where PUBs could not operate that include the following:
- Tourist bus
- Omnibus franchising guidelines-compliant public utility jeepneys
- UV Express service
- Traditional PUJs operated by cooperatives or are fleet-managed
- Tourist vans
Garcia said the towns are still waiting to deploy buses. She also observed that some buses collect higher fares compared to jeepneys.
The Cebu provincial government, through Executive Order 19, had earlier allowed backriding for private motorcycles under GCQ but the DILG and even President Rodrigo Duterte himself opposed this, prompting Garcia to rescind the EO.
The province has appealed to the national government to reconsider this.
“Under GCQ, some establishments opened. Most of them can save if they backride with family members,” Garcia said in Cebuano.
Cebu is not alone in seeking government reconsideration in its motorcycle backriding policy. In Iloilo, Governor Arthur Defensor Jr asked the Land Transportation Office to consider a motorcycle that he designed to accommodate a backrider while addressing the concerns of the government’s coronavirus task force. – Rappler.com