19 PUJs cleared to ply Cebu City streets
Councilor James Cuenco, head of the Jeepney Task Force, said that out of the 61 units inspected by LTO yesterday, only 28 passed while 33 failed. Of those that passed, only 19 finished the requirements and were issued permit. These include four units with route number 06B; five (06C); five (04D); three (04C); and two (04L).
STAR/File
19 PUJs cleared to ply Cebu City streets
Mary Ruth R. Malinao (The Freeman) - November 21, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  At least 19 traditional public utility jeepneys were issued a permit to ply the streets of Cebu City starting yesterday after passing the joint inspection conducted by the Land Transportation Office (LTO), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and Cebu City Transportation Office (CCTO).

Councilor James Cuenco, head of the Jeepney Task Force, said that out of the 61 units inspected by LTO yesterday, only 28 passed while 33 failed. Of those that passed, only 19 finished the requirements and were issued permit. These include four units with route number 06B; five (06C); five (04D); three (04C); and two (04L).

Cuenco said the gradual return of traditional PUJs on the streets of Cebu City helps a lot in addressing the lack of public transport.

“Dako kaayo ni’ng tabang. Hopefully, with the roll out aning mga jeepneys, it will not also cause more traffic kay mao pud na’y reklamo sa mga non-commuters, especially those who own private vehicles, nga malangan daw sila because of the rollout of jeepneys,” said Cuenco.

 “But, you know, when you consider the pros and cons, you have to consider the greater good. Unsay mas makatabang sa mas kadaghanan sa atong mga katawhan... Daghan pa gihapon kakuwangan sa atong transport network and we hope, slowly but surely, that the roll out of these traditional jeepneys will help alleviate their plight,” he added.

Before being allowed to return on the streets, traditional PUJ units were subjected to inspection for roadworthiness and compliance to health and safety protocols. On top of the regular emission testing and inspection on the condition of the unit, authorities also check the installation of plastic barriers, provision of disinfectants, drop box for the fare, among others.

As soon as the unit passed the inspection, the driver will be given the clearance to ply the streets of the city. It must, however, be noted that a negative COVID-19 test result is among the requirements for a driver to resume his work.

The inspection at the one-stop shop in the North Reclamation Area will be done twice a week until all jeepneys will be covered.

“Wala ta’y deadline. Until ma-complete nato ang the whole 1,300 units,” said Cuenco.

Cuenco advised the drivers: “Before sila moanhi, ipakondisyon lang una unta ang ilang mga sakyanan para dili sila magbalik-balik. But no worries, those who have failed, pwede ra gihapon mobalik diri unya pagnakapakondisyon na sila.”

He said the return of the jeepneys in the city streets is being addressed as an urgent matter considering that the demand is also rising.

“We consider this top priority and we address this with utmost urgency but at the same time we are also being very careful so as to number one, guard against the rise in the COVID cases,” said Cuenco.

“Because you know for a fact, few days, we have had a steady rise and we don’t want this to continue nga mosaka pa gyud and then it will be attributed to the roll out of the jeepneys. So, we are treading on thin waters here, but we are hopeful nga kaning atong mga stakeholders will follow religiously our health protocols,” he continued.

As of Thursday, there were 330 active COVID-19 cases in Cebu City.

Mayor Edgardo Labella, for his part, advised the drivers and the operators to strictly observe the health protocols.

“If we want to continue to be of service to our people, I would enjoin and I would appeal to the drivers and also the operators to strictly observe the health protocols because the virus is still very much around. We can never be complacent,” said Labella.

“But, of course, there will be some personnel who will be strictly monitoring among our jeepney transport if they are observing the health protocols laid out by the IATF and also by the LTFRB. Now, if they are found to be violating, then they might be ordered to stop the operation,” he warned.

Police Regional Office-7 director Albert Ignatius Ferro also issued the same warning. He said the police will recommend to stop the operations of traditional PUJs when health protocols are not observed.

"We should always check the jeepney if they are observing the minimum health standard, because if not, we will again enforce the law," said Ferro.

"I have been informed that PUJ drivers have been tested. Gi-test nila ang mga drivers. But you have to measure the risks as against the benefits," he added.

Ferro has asked the public to cooperate and practice health standards by wearing masks and observe social distancing.

"We should always be safety conscious. We should observe health protocols religiously," he said. — with Mae Fhel K. Gom-os, FPL (FREEMAN)

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