BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson said yesterday that the land trips of Vallacar Transit Incorporated, that manages the Ceres Liner passenger buses from Negros Occidental to neighboring provinces and islands, may resume this month, if they can implement an executive order he issued, that requires negative COVID-19 test results, among others, from its passengers.
“They have to convince us that they can actually monitor the passengers that they are carrying,” Lacson said, as he will not allow that airlines, shipping and land transportation companies will be the carriers of Covid-19 passengers.
“They will just have to assure us that they can managed this,” he stressed.
The EO 21-18 issued by Lacson calls for the implementation of National Inter Agency Task Force resolution 101 that calls for uniform travel protocols for all local government units, with the inclusion of requiring travelers with negative RT-PCR test results, issued 72 hours prior to their arrival in Negros.
The VTI requested an endorsement letter of support from Lacson, for its application to the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board for Special Permits, allowing them to resume operations outside Negros Occidental, as travelers are now being allowed to enter the province, as long as they have negative RT-PCR test results, registration with the S-Pass and Stay Safe Phils app system for contact-tracing purposes.
The Bacolod-based bus company wants to resume trips from Bacolod City to Cebu, Dumaguete City, Canlaon City, Zamboanga and its new route, Sipalay City to Cebu, with a total of 16 trips.
“The burden is now with VTI to assure us that they can really manage, or can ensure that all their passengers are not carriers of Covid-19,” Lacson, who instructed Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz to meet again with representatives of VTI management, said.
It was agreed during an initial meeting between Diaz and VTI management representatives that there will be no pick-up or unloading of passengers along the way, and that boarding and unloading of passengers should be at the designated bus terminals.
Capitol health personnel will also be deployed in two VTI bus terminals in Bacolod City, to ensure compliance with requirements set for passengers by the provincial government of Negros Occidental.
Diaz said earlier that resumption of Bacolod-Manila land trips of VTI buses has not been included in the proposal.*