Resumption of operation of provincial buses plying from Bontoc to outside Mountain Province

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BONTOC, Mountain Province – The Bontoc Municipal Inter-Agency Task Force (MIATF) has recently decided to allow the resumption of operation of provincial buses plying from Bontoc to outside Mountain Province.

This was the consensus of the MIATF, headed by Mayor Franklin Odsey, during a meeting on November 23, 2020, at the Mayor’s Conference Hall, Bontoc Municipal Capitol.

However, the MIATF highlighted that the resumption of operation of provincial buses must still be within the strict enforcement of health protocols and LTFRB guidelines.

According to Mayor Odsey, two provincial bus companies have already signified their intent for the resumption of their operations. These are the D’Rising Sun Transport System plying the Bontoc-Baguio route, and CODA Lines Corporation plying the Bontoc-Cubao route. Odsey added that he already coordinated with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) – Regional Office endorsing the said provincial bus companies to be given approval to operate.

The mayor added that the entry and exit of individuals in the municipality will also be monitored through the Passenger Manifest to be submitted by the bus operator. He added that the Passenger Manifest will be of great help in the conduct of effective and efficient contact tracing, should it be needed.

Per Memorandum Circular No. 051–2020 of the Department of Transportation (DOTr)–LTFRB, operators of provincial routes must ensure that their units must be currently registered and with valid Personal Passenger Insurance Policy, and must be equipped with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS), to ensure the monitoring of movement of the unit.

Prior to boarding at designated terminals, passengers must present a Travel Authority issued by the PNP within 48 hours prior to departure; valid ID as proof of residency and place of origin, age and workplace or school; written consent to undergo COVID-19 testing and/ or quarantine as may be required by the LGU either at the point of origin or destination; and other documents as may be required by current IATF and LGU guidelines.

Relative to this, the guidelines imposed by the Bontoc LGU for those coming home or entering the municipality remains in effect. Thus, all those coming from outside Mountain Province must secure Travel Authority from the local PNP of their point of origin and updated Medical Clearance Certificate from the local Heath Office/ Unit of their point of origin; must secure Certificate of Acceptance from the Bontoc MIATF; must submit themselves for triage at the basement (mezzanine) of the Bontoc Municipal Capitol; and must undergo and complete the 14-day self–quarantine.

Operators of provincial buses are also required to comply with the conditions for operations as stipulated in the LTFRB memorandum circular. This is to ensure the safety of the passengers, drivers, and conductors; prevent the spread of COVID-19; and hasten the conduct of efficient and effective contact tracing, should it be needed.

Meanwhile, while the Bontoc MIATF has allowed the resumption of operations of provincial buses, tourism activities in the municipality are still suspended, except for residents of Bontoc, Mountain Province.

By Alpine L. Killa