32 PUV drivers nabbed for health protocol violations

The Land Transportation Office (LTO) has so far nabbed 32 public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators in its crackdown against health protocol violators in public transport under the more stringent Alert Level 3.

Enforcers of the LTFRB and I-ACT conduct an inspection along Taft Avenue on Wednesday morning, January 5, 2022, to ensure that health protocols are being implemented in public utility vehicles under Alert Level 3. (Ali Vicoy / MANILA BULLETIN)

LTO National Capital Region (NCR) Director Clarence Guinto said show cause orders have already been issued against the erring PUV drivers and operators in Caloocan, Malabon, Pasay, Manila, and Parañaque.

Personnel of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), including LTO enforcers, have been conducting inspections in PUVs across NCR to ensure that minimum health and safety protocols are strictly being enforced since Monday, Jan. 3.

This, after Alert Level 3 was hoisted again over Metro Manila from Jan. 3 to 15 amid the rising cases of infection in the past days.

Aside from protocol violators, a jeepney driver who turned out to be positive for illegal drugs was also arrested during the operation after he tried to escape from authorities.

He was immediately caught and turned over to the Manila Police District Station 3 where charges for violation of Republic Act 9165 or the Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Act will be filed.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade earlier directed public transport operators to impose tighter health protocols inside PUVs and terminals under Alert Level 3.

Drivers and operators, as well as the riding public, were likewise ordered to strictly observe the following seven commandments for public transport:

1. Wear face masks;

2. No talking and making phone calls;

3. No eating;

4. Keep public utility vehicles well ventilated;

5. Conduct of frequent disinfection;

6. No passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside public transportation;

7. Observe appropriate physical distancing rule

Maximum passenger capacity in PUVs was also maintained at 70 percent to cater to the expected influx of passengers going back from provinces after the holiday season.

The DOTr warned that penalties for violating these guidelines range from hefty fines to the impounding of the involved unit while erring drivers can get their licenses suspended or face additional criminal complaints.