Passenger jeepneys banned in Iloilo City amid ‘lockdown’

(DG file)

By Emme Rose Santiagudo

All public utility jeepneys (PUJs) are prohibited from entering and plying Iloilo City streets amid the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) or lockdown to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

However, vehicles carrying agricultural products to and from the city are exempted from the ban, according to Mayor Jerry Treñas.

“All provincial and city loop jeepneys are denied of entry into the city except those carrying agriculture products. We have to ensure that food is sufficient here in the city that is why we will give exemptions to those carrying agriculture products,” he said.

Treñas placed Iloilo City under lockdown starting March 20 to April 14, 2020 to limit the movement of people and prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

He signed Executive Order No. 55 on Thursday mandating the closure of all public and private offices, business, commercial establishments and stores except for those providing essential services.

Under the EO, operation hours of essential establishments are between 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. only, except for hospitals, medical facilities, public utilities, and BPOs among others.

The establishments are required to follow preventive measures such as posting of COVID-19 hotlines; observance of social distancing; constant disinfecting measures in frequently touched areas; and all personnel and employees of establishments are required to prepare daily health cards.

The EO also ordered the implementation of a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. which was also stipulated in Regulation Ordinance No. 2020-056 passed by the City Council on Tuesday.

Moreover, no person shall be allowed in the streets, highways, commercial establishments, malls, stores or immediate places outside the vicinity of their residences from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. except in emergency cases, and to purchase food, medicines, and other basic commodities.

Exempted from the curfew are workers of essential services provided that they present a company ID and proof of rendering work for the day.

Meanwhile, buses, PUVs, and jeepneys are not allowed to ferry passengers during the enhanced community quarantine period except those identified by the Public Safety and Transportation Management Office (PSTMO).

To help ferry workers of essential services, especially health personnel, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in the region will provide ten bus units, according to Treñas.

“Director Richard Osmeña of LTFRB-6 said all health workers will be free of charge, they will just have to present their IDs,” he said.

PSTMO head Jeck Conlu said the minimum fare in the buses is P10. The buses will ply major roads of the seven districts of Iloilo City namely, Arevalo, Molo, City Proper, Jaro, La Paz, Lapuz, and Mandurriao.

He added that tricycle, pedicabs, and taxis are allowed on the streets provided they observe physical distancing.

“We will allow tricycle and pedicabs as long as they practice social distancing but they are still not allowed in the national roads. The minimum fare will be P10 regardless of the distance and the origin,” he said.

The city government will also provide free transport services.

“We will be providing three modern jeepneys and one bus of the city government. We are still in talks with other bus companies for the additional units,” he said.