Labella promises to open more jeepney routes soon
CEBU CITY, Philippines — Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella has promised to open more jeepney routes soon following the multiple requests from the Jeepney Task Force (JTF) to do so.
The mayor said the city government will be reopening more routes slowly so as not to overwhelm the streets and also risk the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) inside the public utility vehicles (PUV).
“We are just trying to formulate guidelines for strict implementation of health protocols. We are preventing the surge of cases just like what is happening in Manila,” he said in a phone interview.
The mayor added that he is concerned that if traditional jeepneys will be allowed to return in the same number as before the pandemic, this may cause a rise in the cases.
Still, the mayor said that the city government will find ways to reopen more routes soon as reports of bus operators pulling out of Cebu City to return to their provincial routes have reached him.
He said that more routes will be opened before these bus operators have fully pulled out of the city.
“As long as they follow the health protocols, then we will allow them to ply the streets,” said the mayor.
It has been over two months since the mayor has refused to open additional jeepney routes for fear of causing a surge in the COVID-19 cases.
However, Councilor James Cuenco, the head of the JTF, has been repeatedly appealing to the mayor to reopen more routes because the demand for public transport continues to rise.
Cuenco earlier said that many jeepney operators are now hesitating to buy modern jeepneys for fear that their routes will not be reopened anyway.
Mayor Labella assured these drivers that the routes will in fact be reopened soon if only they can wait a while longer. /rcg
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