The quarantine measures put up by the government may have helped curb the spread of COVID-19, but it has resulted in many being stranded in Metro Manila and elsewhere. With little to no options for getting back to their respective provinces, those that want to go home can only rely on the government's 'Hatid Tulong' program.

Soon, however, the government might allow provincial buses to operate again. According to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID), they will be reviewing the proposal to allow the operation of provincial buses for the second phase of the resumption of public transport starting June 22, 2020.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr), through Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, said that their initial plan is to allow provincial buses to operate under Phase Two based on the assumption that Metro Manila would have already transitioned to the more relaxed Modified General Community Quarantine (MGCQ). However, President Duterte announced that General Community Quarantine in Metro Manila (as well as several parts of the country) will last until June 30, 2020.

Provincial buses could be allowed to operate in NCR starting June 22 image

Bantayan po natin at abangan ang anunsiyo ng DOTr kung papayagan nga po ang mga provincial buses sa second phase pagdating po ng June 22, 2020,” said Roque.

[Let us monitor and wait for the announcement of the DOTr if provincial buses will be allowed to operate during the second phase starting June 22, 2020]

Currently, only trains, bus augmentation programs, taxis, Transport Network Vehicle Service (TNVS), shuttle services, and point-to-point buses (P2P) are allowed to operate under GCQ. Should the Second Phase be approved by the IATF-EID, other forms of public transport such as provincial buses, modern public utility vehicles (MPUVs), and UV Express vans will be allowed to ferry passengers with limited passenger capacity from June 22 until June 30, 2020.

If provincial buses will be allowed to operate under GCQ or MGCQ, it would greatly help stranded passengers get back home to be with their loved ones.