The “ECQ Version 2.0” that the National Capital Region and immediate provinces have been subjected to this week may feel like a déjà vu of sorts, owing to the fact that, like its first implementation a year ago, citizens have been strongly urged to stay in their residences in order to stem the alarming rise of daily Covid-19 cases.
This time, however, there are key differences, most noticeable of which is that public transport has been allowed to operate this time, albeit in a limited capacity.
Thus, it has been a busy ECQ (or “Busy-Q”) for the Department of Transportation and the transport sector in general.
On March 30, a day after the week-long ECQ started, DOTr posted on its social media sites the routes for free rides for health workers and medical frontliners. These are:
Route 1: Meralco (Malanday) bound for United Doctors Medical Center; Route 2: Valenzuela Gateway Complex going to United Doctors Medical Center; Route 3: SM City San Jose Del Monte going to Centris; Route 4: SM Masinag going to The Medical City Ortigas; Route 5: Ortigas Hospital and Healthcare Center going to Rizal Medical Center; Route 6: MRT 3 Cubao bound for Philippine General Hospital via MRT 3 Centris Station; Route 7: Pasig City General Hospital going to Makati Medical Center;
Route 7a: Medical City Ortigas to VRP Medical Center; Route 8: Starmall Alabang going to St. Luke’s Medical Center – BGC; Route 9: Vista Mall Daang Hari to United Doctors Medical Center; Route 10: Research Institute for Tropical Medicine to Starmall Alabang; Route 11: Starmall Alabang to Manila Doctors Hospital; Route 12: Dasmariñas Pala-Pala to Manila Doctor’s Hospital; Route 13: Starmall Alabang to Sea Oil Imus Daang Hari/Aguinaldo; Route 14: SM City Taytay to St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City; Route 15: SLEX Sucat Exit to Philippine General Hospital (PGH);
Route 16: MRT-3 Cubao to PGH; Route 17: SM City San Jose Del Monte to SM Fairview/ Commonwealth Hospital and Medical Center; Route 18: LRT-1 Monumento to Baclaran Market; Route 19: First Cabuyao Hospital and Medical Center to Starmall Alabang, and; Route 20: SM City Masinag to Lawton.
DOTr and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) also prepared 44 routes for jeepneys in the Service Contracting Program (SCP) for free rides for essential travelers or authorized persons outside residence (Apors).
In this light, Transport Secretary Arthur P. Tugade urged public transport drivers to participate in the SCP so that they could earn added income. Drivers can register at www.servicecontracting.ph.
The SCP is among the programs launched under the “Bayanihan to Recover as One Act” to help augment public utility drivers’ income in exchange for their transporting commuters during the pandemic.
DOTr has also released a statement stressing that the new Toll Regulatory Board Executive Director, lawyer Alvin A. Carullo, “intends to fast-track ongoing and proposed toll road projects as well as enforce proactive regulation of existing toll roads.” He also emphasized the need to expedite the construction, development, and completion of the much needed toll road projects in the country.
Carullo was appointed TRB head by Duterte effective March 15. The TRB is an attached agency of the DOTr.
“I intend to inculcate the culture of competence, integrity, and good public service in the TRB,” Carullo said. Carullo also disclosed manpower augmentation to ensure that toll regulatory functions are efficiently performed by the agency. His action plans include promoting the professional welfare of TRB personnel, and examining more closely the pending applications for toll rate increases. In doing so, Carullo said, just and reasonable toll rates through a transparent consultative process will be achieved.
Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Office (LTO) announced on March 27 that its central office along East Avenue in Quezon City would temporarily halt operations until April 2, in observance of Holy Week and to complete a scheduled disinfection procedure.