DOTr orders stricter application of health protocols in public transport

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 2) – The Ministry of Transportation has ordered stricter implementation of health protocols in vehicles and public transport terminals amid the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade has headed the Bureau of Land Transportation, the Land Transportation Regulatory and Franchising Board, and trained the commissioners of all railway lines to ensure that physical distancing is observed in vehicles and public transport stations.

Enforcement officers must also ensure that passengers wear face masks and prohibit them from speaking or eating inside vehicles.

“The safety of commuters is paramount. We must ensure that health protocols are strictly enforced in all public transport vehicles and in all transport facilities,” Tugade said in a statement on Saturday.

He also urged commuters to do their part and not be complacent.

“We need everyone’s cooperation. We cannot do it alone,” he said.

The country’s transport chief also announced on Sunday that the agency would maintain the current capacity of 70% of passengers on all rail lines.

Random antigen testing will also be performed on consenting passengers to monitor the spread of COVID-19 on train lines.

“Passengers who volunteer to be tested will be allowed to continue their journey after the test and will be notified of their test results by text message,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation TJ Batan.

Tugade also called on aviation authorities to review the existing international arrival ceiling at Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“Let us continue to lift our guards. If there is a need to reduce the ceiling on passenger arrivals, then we do so in coordination with the agencies concerned,” he said.

“Review the existing ceiling, make sure the process is scrupulously respected, and in everything we do, make sure we ensure the protection of our kababayans,” he added.

Tugade’s order came after the national government decided to place the national capital region under Alert Level 3 from January 3 to 15 following the detection of three local cases of Omicron in the country.

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