No problem with re-opening bus routes as long as health standards followed, says DOH

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2020 12:39 PM

Passengers line up at the entrance of the PITX in Parañaque City on Aug. 19, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — There should be no problem with the re-opening of some bus routes as long as health protocols are followed, the Department of Health said Monday.

“Ang primary objective natin lahat is for our population to be safe if ever we will be opening up some of the sectors of society. Ang ginagawa ng DOTr (Department of Transportation), magbubukas sila ng mga buses, mga ruta. Ang minimum health standards ay dapat ipatupad,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said during a virtual briefing.

(Our primary objective is for our population to be safe if ever we will be opening up some of the sectors of society. What the DOTr is doing is they will open routes. Minimum health standards should be implemented.)

The health official said among the measures in place are the checking of symptoms and the enforcement of the wearing of face masks and face shields.

There will also be a 1-meter distance between passengers.

“Lahat yan ay pinagtitibay, pinatutupad nang maayos para maging safe pa rin kahit magbukas tayo ng ganitong sectors of society,” she said.

(All those are being implemented properly so it’ll still be safe even if we open these sectors of society.)

“What is most important is to monitor. Kailangan i-monitor natin ano magiging resulta ng pagbubukas natin.”

(What is most important is to monitor. We need to monitor the results of our opening up.)

Vergeire assured the public that the DOH is always consulted whenever there is an easing of restrictions by other government agencies.

“Naandun tayo para magbigay ng guidance, magbigay ng inputs. We are very appreciative of the other government agencies. Every time magdedesisyon sila, they consider yung health,” she said.

(We’re always there to give guidance and inputs. We are very appreciative of the other government agencies. Every time they make a decision, they consider the health aspect.)

The following 12 routes to and from Metro Manila will be opened by September 30, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board:

1. San Fernando, Pampanga – Araneta Center, Cubao, Quezon City
2. Batangas City, Batangas – Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX)
3. Lemery, Batangas – PITX
4. Lipa City, Batangas – PITX
5. Nasugbu, Batangas – PITX
6. Indang, Cavite – PITX
7. Mendez, Cavite – PITX
8. Tagaytay City, Cavite – PITX
9. Ternate, Cavite – PITX
10. Calamba City, Laguna – PITX
11. Siniloan, Laguna – PITX
12. Sta. Cruz, Laguna – PITX

Travel restrictions were implemented since March to curb the spread of COVID-19.

As of Sunday, Sept. 27, the Philippines has recorded 304,226 confirmed coronavirus infections in the country, of which, 46,372 are active cases.

The death toll climbed to 5,344, while the 252,510 have recovered.

The country logged its first COVID-19 case on Jan. 30 in a Chinese woman who arrived from Wuhan City, China where the disease is believed to have first emerged late last year. Her male companion was the Philippines' second case who succumbed to the disease on Feb. 1, the first coronavirus-related fatality in the country and outside of China.