Don't cause COVID spread, Tugade warns colorum operators


Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade warned operators and drivers of colorum (illegal) public-use vehicles to stop their operations in order to also stop the spread of COVID-19.

This was after 12 colorum vans attempting to enter towns in the Bicol Region were caught in a checkpoint in the border of the Region, and tried to leave Metro Manila where the Land Transportation Office (LTO) intercepted the vans.

"Huwag maging pasaway, huwag maging sanhi ng pagkalat ng COVID (Do not disobey the rules, do not be a cause of the COVID-19 spread)," Tugade said in a statement posted in the Facebook page of Transport Assistant Secretary for Communications Goddes Hope Libiran.

According to data from the Bicol Region, 79 people who traveled from Metro Manila to Bicol via the colorum vans tested positive for the virus.

Tugade added that the spread of COVID-19 will not stop if the violation of quarantine protocols continue. "Let us set aside our personal interest to save many lives. We are talking here about the lives of the people, so let us just follow the rules,” he said.

According to the statement, an investigation showed that colorum operators allegedly looked for and booked passengers on Facebook. Once the operators booked enough passengers, they pick them up door-to-door.

Metro Manila and nearby provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, also known as the National Capital Region-Plus (NCR+) were recently put under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) until April 11 due to alarming rise in COVID-19 cases.

Because of the ECQ in NCR+, the Bicol Inter-Agency Task Force (BIATF) established border control poins in Sta. Elena, Camarines Norte and Del Gallego, Camarines Sur, according to the statement.

More people are found to be crossing the border of the provinces, which is why checkpoints in those areas were established, the BIATF said.

LTO in the NCR will continue to monitor the terminals in Pasay and Cubao, while LTO Region V will monitor the Bicol border for the operations and apprehend the violators, the statement said.

Photo from DOTr Assistant Secretary for Communications Goddess Hope Libiran's Facebook page

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