BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson yesterday clarified that bus trips to Negros Occidental from Negros Oriental are still not allowed, until such time that both provinces agree on health protocol guidelines.
But Lacson said they are considering opening up the border with Negros Oriental, but have yet to decide where exactly.
The Inter Agency Task Force of Negros Oriental issued a resolution on November 15 approving the request of Vallacar Transit Incorporated (VTI) to resume operations covering the route Dumaguete City to Bacolod City and vice versa, via Mabinay and San Carlos City, provided that health and safety protocols are strictly enforced.
The Negros Oriental IATF, in a resolution it issued, however said there is a need to implement stricter health and safety protocols in order to prevent the spread of the deadly disease, especially in the transport sector.
The two Negros provinces, including highly-urbanized Bacolod City, are now under Alert Level 2 classification.
Lacson said the matter is now being studied by Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz, who is now in touch with VTI.
Asked if it will be opened this week, Lacson said “if they can come into an agreement already, we are ready to do that.”
For practical purposes, it has to be the same protocols from both ends, he added.
Lacson said he expects it to be settled within the week.
He also backed the point-to-point system of transport between the two provinces, to make it easier to manage the entry and exit of passengers.
The IATF- Region 7 earlier interposed no objection also to the special permit granted and approved by the Land Transportation Regulatory Board for VTI to resume operations between Cebu and Negros Islands.
Diaz earlier said VTI is going for a 70 percent passenger bus capacity.
Vaccinated travelers are now allowed to enter Negros Occidental, without presenting negative RT-PCR results, except for unvaccinated individuals, who are required to do so.
Diaz also said that the provincial government of Negros Occidental needs the passenger manifest of VTI for approval of their S-Pass, since they are residents of Region 7.*