LTFRB 7 to PUV operators, drivers: Require passengers to wear face masks

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THE Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) 7 called on operators and drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) to require passengers to wear face masks amid the easing of the face mask policy.

The Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Diseases recently announced that it recommended the optional wearing of face masks in open spaces across the country to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., while in Cebu City the practice is already “non-obligatory.”

“My advice to operators, drivers, whether of air-conditioned or non-air-conditioned PUVs, is they require passengers to wear face masks just to be sure since the condition inside PUVs can get very crowded,” LTFRB 7 Director Eduardo Montealto Jr. said in Cebuano on Thursday, September 8, 2022.

He said PUVs can get full, especially now that these are operating in full capacity.

“Let’s not forget that we are not only protecting ourselves against Covid-19 (coronavirus disease 2019),” he said in Cebuano.

Montealto said the agency will not penalize PUV drivers if it catches their passengers without face masks, instead it will provide them with one. However, this could change if their head office or the Department of Transportation have a change of heart, he said.

Then drivers could face penalties of up to P5,000, he said.

Despite the easing of the mask rule in Cebu City, he said the majority of the public continue to be vigilant, having observed most if not all passengers still wearing face masks inside PUVs.

Meanwhile, Montealto reminded operators and drivers of air-conditioned PUVs that they are mandated to open their windows for at least three inches to allow ventilation inside their vehicles.

He said the LTFRB 7 apprehended close to 50 PUV drivers who allowed maskless passengers to board during the time when Covid-19 cases were still high and the wearing of face masks was obligatory. (PAC/PJB)