The Department of Transportation (DOTr) will allow public transport services to resume operations in Puerto Princesa City and Palawan upon the implementation of the general community quarantine (GCQ) on May 1.

Assistant secretary Alberto Suansing, in an interview with Palawan News on Friday, said that local government units (LGU) would be allowed to regulate the “reduced capacity” of “limited” mass transport as it downgrades to GCQ from its enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status.

“Puwede na makapag-umpisa ‘yong limited public transport [by implementation of GCQ]. Mag-uumpisa ng lumabas ‘yong tao — ‘yong mga allowed persons to go out of their residence — of course kailangan ng public transport noon,” he said.

However, Suansing reiterated that tricycles would still not be allowed as it does not qualify as a valid means of transport that can withstand strict physical distancing measures.

“Sa Puerto Princesa karamihan ay bus, jeep, o multicab — hindi kasali ang tricycle. Ang rekomendasyon naman ay reduced capacity. Halimbawa, sa multicab na kaya mag-sakay ng sampung pasahero, kailangan mabawasan ‘yon, baka apat o lima na lang ang puwede para ma-implement ang social distancing,” he added.

Suansing also pointed out that the LGUs may not regulate higher fare matrix to compensate for the “reduced carrying capacity” as it was set by guidelines imposed by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

Instead, 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.

DOTr has yet to issue the GCQ guidelines in regulating the public transport for provinces or areas that were qualified to gradually reopen select industries.

Puerto Princesa City and Palawan LGUs have yet to disclose plans as they were still deliberating on the GCQ guidelines as of press time.

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is a desk editor and senior reporter of Palawan News. He covers politics, environment, tourism, justice, and sports. In his free time, he enjoys long walks with his dog, Bayani.