Edict on new normal business operations in city proposed

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The City Council, during last Monday’s regular session, approved on first reading a proposed ordinance prescribing new normal operations in all business establishments, transportation facilities, work places, schools and public places in the city until the threat of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is over.

City legislators declared  that the jeepney operators and drivers associations and management of bus terminals shall ensure their drivers, workers, conductors, employees and passengers are wearing face masks and passengers should always maintain in physical distancing in queuing at all times.

Further, the associations of jeepney operators and drivers and the management of bus terminals must designate safety officers tasked to ensure and remind passengers of the established health and safety procedures.

The council added the safety officers shall also be in charge of taking the temperature of passengers pursuant to prevailing health protocols while appropriate signages remaining passengers and their employees to observe the health measures at the terminal premises shall also be posted in terminals.

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Under the proposed ordinance, non-compliance by the jeepney operators and drivers associations and management of bus terminals to the provisions of the measure shall be fine P500 for the first offense, P1,000 for the second offense, and 2,000 for every offense for the third and succeeding offenses.

The council tasked the Baguio City Police Office (BCPO) and the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of Baguio-Benguet (FEDJODBB) to implement the pertinent provisions of the measure and the said offices shall coordinate with the City Health Services Office (CHSO) on matters concerning health and safety standards necessary for compliance by the transportation sector.

Earlier, the council approved Ordinance No. 53, series of 2020, prescribing new normal operations in all business establishments, transportation facilities, workplaces, schools and public places in the city until the threat of COVID-19 is over.

However, the council observed that because of the lack of frequent monitoring, numerous violations are being allegedly committed, especially at jeepney and bus terminals, by passengers who do not maintain physical distancing when queuing and not wearing of face masks.

According to the council, to be able to fully implement the pertinent provisions of the measure and ensure the safety of the residents, including that of the drivers, barkers, conductors and employees at the jeepney and bus terminals, there is a need to strictly enforce the same so as not to compromise the health and safety of the public.

The council asserted the importance of putting in place the appropriate policies with their corresponding penalties to empower the people to strictly comply with the established health and safety protocols which were crafted by the national and city inter-agency task forces to guarantee the health and safety of the people who are out of their residences for their essential needs pursuant to the guidelines that had been crafted for the said purpose.

By Dexter A. See

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