With some jeepneys now allowed to pick up passengers again, those plying the streets will have to follow social distancing guidelines as well. To ensure that these safety measures are observed, the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) has begun their social distancing patrol program.
NCRPO director, Maj. Gen. Debold Sinas said that police officers will be assisting the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and Department of Transportation (DOTr) in enforcing social distancing rules, along with other laws that revolve around “new normal” laws. According to Sinas, the police officers assigned for social distancing patrol will not be armed.
“Ang mga pulis po natin doon ay hindi nga namin pinadalhan ng armas, ang dala lang po yung stick”.
[The police there did not bring firearms, they only brought nightsticks]
Last Friday, the LTFRB allowed traditional PUJs to resume operations and pick up passengers in Metro Manila. Per Memorandum Circular 2020 – 026, traditional PUJs can ply their existing routes without having the need for a special permit. Instead, a corresponding QR code will be issued to the operator prior to the resumption of a PUJ's operation.
This must be printed and be put on display on a PUJ for everyone to see. The operator may secure the QR code by downloading it from the LTFRB website. These vehicles must also be roadworthy, and operators must comply with health, safety, sanitation, and security protocols set by the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).
These PUJs must comply with the rules set by the IATF as well. That means the drivers must always wear a mask and a pair of gloves at all times, the jeepney must be disinfected regularly, and it shall not exceed 50 percent of its capacity. Passengers are also required to wear a mask at all times.
It was only a few months ago when the Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año said that traditional jeepneys will not be allowed to take in fares during GCQ. This is due to the seating configuration of these vehicles that make it not possible to follow social distancing guidelines. Since July 3, a total of 6,002 jeepneys were allowed to ply 49 routes in the National Capital Region with no additional permits necessary.