Kids, seniors still not allowed in PUVs — DOTr exec

Published November 6, 2021, 2:55 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

Despite the shift to a more relaxed alert level and the increased passenger capacity in public transport, minors and the elderly are still not allowed to board public utility vehicles (PUVs) according to an official of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

(Mark Balmores / File Photo / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a virtual public briefing on Saturday, Nov. 6, DOTr Assistant Secretary for Special Concerns Manuel Gonzales, who also heads the Inter-Agency Task Force on Traffic (I-ACT), said the Department is yet to issue an official order regarding the matter.

“Sa ngayon po, ipinagbabawal po ng mga I-ACT enforcers natin na magsakay ng bata kasi po wala pa naman po talagang guidelines dito ang ating pamunuan ng transportasyon (Right now, our I-ACT enforcers prohibit children to ride PUVs as there are no guidelines from the DOTr on this yet),” Gonzales explained.

“So yung mga senior or kaya mga APOR (authorized persons outside residence) na may dalang bata hindi po namin pinasasakay dahil bawal pa po (We do not allow seniors and APORs with children to board PUVs for now as it is still prohibited),” he added.

Children are now allowed to go out of their residences with the easing of restrictions in Metro Manila as the capital region shifted to the less restrictive alert level amid the downtrend in the country’s COVID-19 cases.

The Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) on Emerging Infectious Diseases placed Metro Manila under more relaxed Alert Level 2 from Nov. 5 until Nov. 21.

Based on IATF guidelines, interzonal and intrazonal travel shall be allowed in areas under Alert Level 2, subject to reasonable restrictions by the local government units (LGUs).

Indoor venues are allowed to accept a maximum of 50 percent capacity for fully vaccinated individuals and those below 18, even if unvaccinated, while outdoor venues are allowed to accommodate up to 70 percent of their capacity.

The same restrictions would also be applied on venues for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) and social events; tourist attractions such as museums, galleries, exhibits, parks, plazas, public gardens, scenic viewpoints; and amusement parks or theme parks.

With the expected increase in mobility, Gonzales added that they are working with the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to decongest major thoroughfares in the metropolis especially as the holiday season nears.

“Ang advise namin sa mga kababayan natin ay pwede silang gumamit ng mga alternate routes na inestablish ng MMDA para makaiwas o mabawasan man lang ang volume ng traffic dito sa EDSA (We advise motorists to use the alternate routes established by the MMDA to avoid or decongest the heavy traffic in EDSA),” he said.