Ilocos Norte OKs provincial buses for Manila trips starting Jan. 31

By Ma. Joreina Therese A. Blanco

LAOAG CITY, Jan. 26 (PIA) – The Ilocos Norte government now allows the resumption of public utility buses (PUBs) travelling to and from Metro Manila starting January 31.
In a newly released Executive Order No. 113-21 by Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc, guidelines are set for the operation of PUBs while the province is under a relaxed community quarantine.
The order states that provincial buses with Manila to Laoag City (vice versa) and Manila to Pagudpud (vice versa) routes will now be allowed by the end of January.
Initially, 20 buses a day are allowed entry, subject to increase based on the demand of passengers.
“Only those operators with routes permitted to travel to and from Metro Manila shall be allowed to operate subject to the issuance of corresponding Quick Response (QR) Code by the LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) Central Office. Those PUBs found to have violated the requirements will be apprehended accordingly,” Manotoc’s order states.
For  bus drivers and conductors, face mask and face shield are required to be worn at all times.
Meanwhile, passengers are also mandated to wear face mask and face shield in order to be allowed to board the bus.
Use of  mobile phones and talking while inside the bus are also highly discouraged.
Passengers need to secure a medical clearance certificate from the city or municipal health office or any hospital accredited by Department of Health (DOH), travel authority issued by Philippine National Police, and a trip ticket acquired 48 hours prior to the actual date of trip.
In addition, a negative rapid antigen test with swab collected within 24 hours are needed to be presented.
Following the protocols in Ilocos Norte, passengers must be accepted and approved for entry by the provincial government.
To expedite their entry, scanned copies of the requirements are asked to be sent to at least 48 hours before the scheduled trip.
Returning residents, locally stranded individuals, and returning overseas workers will still undergo quarantine. (JCR/VHS/MJTAB, PIA Ilocos Norte)