Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade has issued stern warning against operators of colorum vehicles to stop their operations, as they are also endangering the lives of commuters amid the spike in coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) cases.
This, after 12 colorum vehicles were apprehended during operations as they tried to enter different towns and cities in the Bicol region during Holy Week.
On April 1 to 2 alone, at least seven more passengers on board colorum vehicles from Manila were tested positive for Covid-19 and are now under isolation.
“Life is at stake here, so don’t be stubborn, don’t be spreader of Covid. We will not succeed in our fight against Covid if we will outrightly violate our quarantine protocols,” Tugade said in a news release on Saturday.
Tugade said the Bicol Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) has so far reported that a total of 79 individuals, who have entered Bicol region on board colorum vehicles from Metro Manila, were tested positive for Covid-19.
After Metro Manila and four nearby provinces have been placed under enhanced community quarantine from March 29 to April 4, the Bicol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) has issued Resolution No. 2021-004 or “Re-Establishment of Regional Border Control Points in Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte and Del Gallego, Camarines Sur.”
On Saturday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) has extended for another week the ECQ in the National Capital Region (NCR) Plus “bubble” that includes provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal.
The BIATF reimposed strict implementation of checkpoints to prevent further transmission of Covid-19 in the region.
To make sure that only authorized persons outside resident (APOR) will be allowed to enter the Bicol region, the Land Transportation Office Region 5 through the request of Camarines Sur province, has intensified border control and anti-colorum operations.
The police and military have reinforced the LTO personnel for the immediate implementation of anti-colorum operations in the Bicol Regional Border in el Gallego, Camarines Sur, resulting in the apprehension of 10 colorum vehicles on April 1. Two more vehicles, also bound for Bicol, were also held in Metro Manila.
Investigation results showed dispatchers of the door-to-door colorum vehicles use Facebook and online booking to get passengers.
The LTO-NCR has also intensified its operations in the Pasay City and Cubao terminals and in the Bicol border to arrest violators.