The existing ban on inter-municipal travel will not be lifted even as Palawan transitions to a general community quarantine (GCQ) starting May 1, the provincial government clarified on Wednesday.
Vice Governor Dennis Socrates, presiding a provincial inter-agency task force (PIATF) meeting, said only select economic activities will be reopened to gradually restart the province following the lockdown.
“Huwag muna tayong maging excited. Hindi ito parang liberation, hindi ito parang bigla tayong pinalaya sa ating kalagayan.
Under the “new normal” condition following the “extreme enhanced community quarantine”, Socrates said the measures intended to contain the rapid spread of the virus will be retained.
“Sa ngayon, at even beyond until May 1, tayo ay nalalagay pa rin sa panganib at mataas pa rin na level ng pag-iingat ang hinahanap sa atin, which means malaki pa rin ang ating sakripisyo, so, hindi pa rin natatapos ang ating kalbaryo,” Socrates added.
He said the overall policy of social and physical distancing will remain under the GCQ status, to include among others the existing ban on public gatherings.
“Maintain pa rin ang social distancing, wala pa ring religious activities, wala pa ring mass gatherings, wala pa ring inter-municipality travel maliban na lamang sa mga kabilang sa APOR at mga sektor na pinapayagan,” Socrates said.
Public transport within the confines of each municipality will be allowed for so-called “allowed persons outside their residence” (APOR).
However, the practice of physical distancing will remain in force and will compel public transport utilities to reduce the number of its passengers.
The carrying capacity of the public utility vehicles (PUV) would be limited to at least 50 percent to ensure that physical distancing would be followed.
Transportation assistant secretary Alberto Suansing, in an earlier interview with Palawan News, said that the adjustment of the fare matrix to compensate for a “reduced carrying capacity” of public utility vehicles will be addressed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).
He said that the LGUs may come up with different programs that may aid in boosting the income of affected transport service providers.
“Hindi puwedeng doblehin ‘yong pamasahe. Siguro baka puwede sila magbigay ng ayuda para sa mga driver at operator, pero definitely hindi pwedeng doblehin ‘yong pamasahe,” he added.
Socrates said the new guidelines still do no allow for stranded students to travel back to their respective towns, consistent with the GCQ guidelines from the national IATF.
“Kung tutuusin ‘yong mga stranded na estudyante ay wala pa ring pagbabago sa kanilang status. Sana ay maunawaan natin, matanggap natin at gawin natin at sundin ang nararapat para mapanatiling mapayapa, malusog ang ating mamamayan,” he added.