City traffic office stops issuing delivery permits

THE Cebu City Transportation Office (CTO) has suspended the issuance of permits to vehicles that deliver essential goods.

Alma Barandog-Casimero, CTO head, said their office has issued 4,296delivery permits since the end of March, when the city was first placed on enhanced community quarantine to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-2019).

“We suspended the issuance of delivery permits effective Monday, June 29, 2020. Those with permits can continue their operations, but those without will be asked to turn back so they won’t get a citation,” Casimero said in Cebuano, referring to delivery vehicles like motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles.

Casimero said the City Government wants to control the number of vehicles on the streets after observing that more people have been applying for the permit even though they are not qualified so they won’t get apprehended by traffic enforcers.

The delivery permit costs between P500 and P700, depending on what goods are delivered.

Most of permits that had been issued are for motorcycles that are used in food delivery like Food Panda, Grab Food and Lalamove, among others.

The CTO, which has been working with the police and the military to secure the city’s borders, has been strictly enforcing quarantine guidelines issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases and executive orders signed by Mayor Edgardo Labella to restrict the number of vehicles plying the roads.

CTO administrative officer Lyntoni Sable said they apprehend an average of 200 violators every day. Most of them are drivers driving with an expired license or registration.

Meanwhile, one food delivery company complained that it was forced to throw away 1,223 meals on Tuesday, June 30, because some of their drivers were turned away and asked to secure an “unknown” permit from the CTO.

On a Facebook post, Diet in a Box owner Chime Bell Osabel said: “And despite all the existing papers we have shown from the mayor’s office, we’re fined unfairly due to non-compliance.”

Osabel said that since the city reverted to ECQ on June 16, they’ve been calling City Hall and the CTO office to inquire about new requirements for their field operations. They’ve also asked officials manning checkpoints on any updates, he said.

Osabel also said their meals spoil easily because these don’t contain preservatives.

Osabel said the traffic office and checkpoint officials should inform them of new regulations, considering that they have continued to operate despite the lockdown since March.

“We have been transparent to the City, thus we have our authority signed onset by the mayor’s office and other supporting documents to push through with our daily deliveries,” Osabel said.

However, Osabel said some of their drivers were able to pass through checkpoints.

“Apparently, each checkpoint has their own interpretation of the authority letter from the mayor’s office,” Osabel said.

Diet in a Box has 500 residential clients in Cebu City, 66 of whom have special food preferences like persons on a special diet for medical purposes. (PAC, JOB, PJB)