DOTr ECQ GUIDELINES: Public transportation in 'NCR Plus'

MANILA, Philippines –
In accordance with the resolution issued by the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID), which was approved by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, to place Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), all four (4) sectors of the Department of Transportation (DOTr) shall stringently implement updated protocols to safeguard the welfare of the riding public amid the alarming surge of COVID-19 cases in the country.

DOTr GUIDELINES: Public transportation in NCR Plus
Non-Motorized Transport and Personal Mobility Device are encouraged, such as bicycles, provided that the rider will strictly abide by the physical distancing measures imposed by the Department of Health (DOH). Photo Credit: ABS-CBN News

Under Resolution No. 106-A, which imposes stricter guidelines to curb the spread of the disease, the National Capital Region and its nearby provinces, Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, will be placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) status effective 12:01AM of March 29, 2021 until end of April 4, 2021.

Officials of the DOTr announced Sunday, 28 March 2021, the latest transport and travel protocols that will be implemented in the air, maritime, rail and road transport sectors.

READ: MRT, LRT, PNR Holy Week 2021 Schedule

Aviation and Airports

In the Aviation Sector, air transportation shall still be allowed to operate following the protocols as provided for by the DOTr with IATF Resolution 106-A:

1. International inbound passenger capacity at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) shall remain to be limited at the maximum of 1,500 passengers per day;

2. Domestic commercial operations shall be allowed subject to compliance with the requirements or restrictions on capacity and frequency of flights that may be imposed by all the local government units (LGUs) outside of the NCR+ bubble;

3. Movement of persons shall be limited to essential purpose or activities and Authorized Persons Outside of their Residence (APOR). Airlines shall screen departing passengers to validate the passengers’ purpose of travel.


In the Maritime sector, the following protocols shall be observed:

1. Maritime transport shall continue servicing the public but will only operate at fifty percent (50%) capacity;

2. Only those allowed under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines shall be allowed to travel on board maritime vessels and through the ports, whether in government or private ports;

3. Travel through maritime vessels and the ports shall be subject to requirements as may be imposed by local government units (LGUs) where voyages originate and end;

4. Vessel operations, Cargo handling operations and other related port ancillary services and activities shall continue subject to compliance with the Omnibus Guidelines in the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended in the NCR Plus bubble;

5. Strict adherence and observance of health protocols shall be observed in all maritime vessels and port facilities.

Road Transport

Public Transportation shall be allowed in areas under ECQ at reduced capacity in accordance with the guidelines of the IATF-MEID. All other modes of transportation - privately-owned, with special permit, and/or dedicated service under government initiative, among others, shall strictly observe the prescribed physical distancing and sanitary measures at all times.

1. For public utility buses (PUBs) and public utility jeepneys (PUJs), 50% of the vehicle’s capacity will be allowed, excluding the driver and the conductor. Passengers will observe the one seat apart rule, and no standing passengers will be allowed.

2. Entry of provincial buses with only APOR as passengers shall be allowed provided rhat these are point-to-point trips.

3. For UV Express, only a maximum of 2 passengers per row will be allowed and the vehicle should not exceed 50% of its capacity. Only 1 passenger will likewise be allowed on the driver’s row.

4. Taxis and TNVS are also required to only allow two (2) passengers per row and 1 passenger on the driver’s row.

5. Shuttle service vehicles shall be allowed to operate, subject to strict physical distancing (one-seat apart) and sanitary practices in accordance with the guidelines of Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)-Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) JMC 2020-04-A.

6. For tricycles, only 1 passenger will be allowed to ride in the side-car and no passenger shall be seated right beside/behind the driver. Further, the operations of tricycles shall be approved by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and respective LGUs, in compliance with the existing policies on its operational limitations.

7. The operation of motorcycle taxis shall be allowed for those considered as APOR. Moreover, enforcement agencies shall continue to apprehend informal and illegal MC Taxi services or the “habal-habal.”

8. The operations of free transport services for medical frontliners will be sustained during the enforcement of ECQ. This is in consideration of the decrease in the capacity of PUVs due to physical distancing measures.

9. Non-Motorized Transport and Personal Mobility Device are encouraged, such as bicycles, provided that the rider will strictly abide by the physical distancing measures imposed by the Department of Health (DOH).

Moreover, only APOR identified by the IATF will be allowed for essential travel and the operations of road-based transportation in areas identified by the IATF. The LTFRB and the LTO shall provide the appropriate issuances to implement the guidelines mentioned. Enforcers from the LTFRB, LTO, Philippine National Police (PNP), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP, Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) and other IATF authorized personnel will be deployed at strategic locations to conduct daily random inspections of PUV operations, offices, terminals, and depots to ensure strict compliance with the service, sanitary, and operational requirements.

Enforcement of Safety and Health Protocols for all public transportation modes.

Meanwhile, all transport sectors are ordered to continue the strict enforcement of the following 7 Commandments inside public transport:
  • Wearing face masks and face shields;
  • No talking and making telephone calls;
  • No eating;
  • Keeping PUVs well-ventilated;
  • Conducting frequent disinfection;
  • No passengers with COVID-19 symptoms are to be allowed inside public transportation; and
  • Observing appropriate physical distancing rule.

— The Summit Express

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