Luzon, Visayas LGUs want ban on buses from Metro Manila – LTFRB
MANILA, Philippines — Despite the overwhelming public clamor to resume provincial bus operations, many local government units (LGUs) in Luzon and Visayas were opposed to the idea of buses from Manila — currently the country’s coronavirus epicenter — entering their borders.
Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) chair Martin Delgra III told reporters on Wednesday that while they were prepared to allow more provincial buses back on the road, the majority of LGUs wanted to keep them out of their respective areas for health reasons.
Earlier, the Provincial Bus Operators Association of the Philippines asked the LTFRB to allow partial operations as Metro Manila eased into general community quarantine.
This would allow, among others, stranded individuals to return to their hometowns.
But with coronavirus cases surging in the National Capital Region right now, Delgra said that a “large majority of the provinces [were] still not willing to open up their borders, and even two weeks ago, the governors of [Central Luzon] asked us to bar the buses coming in from Manila to their areas.”
“These are the issues and challenges we need to meet, so we need to coordinate with the LGUs before we can see provincial buses back again…[Even] in the transport of people, public health considerations remain the priority,” he added.
Despite this, Delgra said the LTFRB and Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) had already prepared the integrated bus terminals that would serve as conduits between the capital and its neighboring provinces.
These terminals, as identified by the Department of Transportation and MMDA, were Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange, South Luzon Expressway Integrated Terminal in Bulacan, Valenzuela Integrated Terminal and Sta. Rosa Terminal in Laguna.
Delgra also clarified that the routes that had reopened in selected areas in Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal provinces were considered “commuter routes,” considering that a significant portion of the Metro workforce hails from the Greater Manila Area.
There were also some regions that had allowed interregional bus routes, including several provinces in Mindanao.
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