CEBU CITY – Governor Gwendolyn Garcia has ordered the police force to heighten the enforcement of the transportation protocols against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), particularly the no-overloading and no-air-conditioning rules, for public utility vehicles (PUVs).
During a coordination meeting at the Capitol on Wednesday, Garcia asked for the cooperation of all police chiefs to implement Executive Order (EO) 35-B, outlining the additional regulations for PUVs.
Garcia directed the police to strictly “flag down” and apprehend erring buses that do not follow the protocols set by the provincial government.
She cited the no-overloading and no-air-conditioning policies for PUVs, as among the key measures to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
PUVs, particularly buses, are mandated to avoid overloading and are only allowed to have a 75 percent seating capacity.
Cebu Provincial Police Office (CPPO) chief Engelbert Soriano, meanwhile, admitted the “shortcomings” and “inefficient enforcement” of the public transport policies by the police.
However, he assured Garcia that they will now strictly enforce the rules set by the Capitol, and that border checkpoints around the province will see to it that plying PUVs follow the protocols.
“I hope there will be a smoother, efficient, and truthful implementation of my EO 35-B,” Garcia said, as she was assured of the police’s commitment as well as the cooperation of the Land Transportation Office and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board.
Garcia said a provincial ordinance will be passed to legislate the rules set by her EO 35-B.
Effective last Aug. 6, all buses and mini-buses plying around southern and northern Cebu are required to pass through Cebu South Bus Terminal and Cebu North Bus Terminal.
Also, they should secure the Provincial Public Utility Vehicle pass indicating the plate number, control number, permitted seating capacity, QR Code, and signature of the governor and provincial administrator.
Each bus or mini-bus that exits the terminal shall be issued a Trip Ticket where the actual number of passengers onboard is reflected.
This ticket will be the basis of the police and Highway Patrol Group during random checkpoints in determining whether the vehicles follow EO 35.
Soriano said he would deploy personnel to the north and south terminals to ensure that passengers pass through the terminal and that the protocols are being followed by buses upon their departure.