The Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield headed by Police Lt. General Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar ordered on Tuesday all concerned police commanders to intensify police visibility in terminals of passenger buses which were already allowed to transport commuters to and from Metro Manila beginning September 30.
Eleazar said police presence in bus terminals will help establish discipline and order especially if passengers would flock the bus terminals on the first day of the public transportation operation.
“We need to ensure that both the bus company employees and the passengers will observe the minimum health safety standard protocol especially on the aspects of wearing face masks and face shields and the observation of physical distancing inside the passenger buses,” said Eleazar.
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) headed by Secretary Art Tugade, through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), has allowed the operation of 12 modified provincial bus routes to Metro Manila from Pampanga, Batangas, Laguna and Cavite starting September 30.
The conditions set for the resumption of Metro Manila-bound bus operations include prohibition on picking up passengers outside of the terminals, no eating, drinking and talking inside the passenger buses and prohibition in making and taking cellular phone calls.
Eleazar said the police presence in bus terminals is in line with the order of PNP Chief General Cascolan for marshalling of public transportation as part of the measures against the Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).
PNP Chief General Cascolan earlier said that the police marshalling of public transportation is aimed at ensuring that the protocols such as at least one-meter physical distancing, wearing of face masks and face shields and the checking body temperature are strictly and properly observed.
“We also remind the police commanders to make sure that the smoking ban and other minimum health safety standard protocols are also observed inside the bus terminals among the passengers, bus company employees and other people who are allowed entry inside the terminals,” said Eleazar.
“Our presence in bus terminals and other possible bus stops is not only for peace and order purposes but also in compliance with the mandate given to us to protect as many people from coronavirus infection by strictly implementing the quarantine rules,” he added.
Eleazar said the police presence in bus terminals comes with the order to familiarize the areas and find an ideal place where the passengers could seek help and report quarantine violations for immediate response.
He also encouraged passengers to remain vigilant against those who defy the quarantine rules inside the bus terminals and inside the passenger buses.
“We already made it easy for the public to report quarantine violations through our jtf.cvshield Facebook page where they could report and even send photos and videos of the quarantine violations. We assure the public of our immediate response and proper actions for any quarantine violation reports and complaints we would receive with regard to the operation of provincial buses,” Eleazar stressed.
He said the public could also reach the PNP and the JTF COVID Shield through the following hotlines: PNP Helpline 16677, 0998-849-0013 for Smart users, 0917-538-2495 for Globe users and PNP-Highway Patrol Group Hotline 0926-225-5474.
The PNP and JTF COVID Shield could also be reached via email@example.com and PNP2019nCoVARDopn@gmail.com.