BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
Land trips from Negros Occidental to neighboring provinces and islands may soon become a reality, almost a year after the Covid-19 pandemic hit Negros Island and the entire country.
This was after the Vallacar Transit Incorporated, that manages the Ceres Liner passenger buses, requested for an endorsement letter of support from Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson, for its application to the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board for Special Permits, allowing them to resume operations outside of Negros Occidental.
Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said yesterday that VTI came up with proposals for the resumption of passenger bus trips from Bacolod City to Cebu, via Tabuelan, Dumaguete City and via San Carlos City, to Zamboanga, Canlaon City via San Carlos City, and its new route, Sipalay City to Cebu, with a total of 16 trips.
The VTI Chief Operating Officer, in his letter to Lacson, said that the company is a grantee of Certificate of Public Convenience (CPS) to operate and to engage in the business of land transportation, along the routes from Bacolod to Cebu, Zamboanga City, Dumaguete City, Canlaon City and Sipalay City to Cebu, with 165 authorized units.\
The proposal to resume VTI operations outside Negros Occidental, that has been suspended for almost a year because of the Covid 19 pandemic, came after Lacson announced that he will open the regional border of Negros Island.
During his meeting with VTI representatives and managers of two Ceres Liner bus terminals in Bacolod, Diaz said the bus firm assured the provincial government that they will implement the executive order issued by Lacson, specifically the imposition of negative RT-PCR test results from its passengers, registration to the S-Pass System, as well as the StaySafe.PH app system.
It was also agreed during the meeting that there will be no pick up or unloading of passengers, except at the designated bus terminals, in order to effectively implement the tracking and surveillance system, he added.
But Diaz said that the offer of the provincial government of Negros Occidental for a voluntary swab test and quarantine to passengers, without any cost to them, remains in effect.
He said that the VTI management will have to ensure that bus passengers entering Negros Occidental comply with all the requirements, adding that they will also deploy health personnel in two bus terminals, to check the health conditions of arriving passengers and validate their documents.
“Once we are clear with the details being ironed out, including the number of passengers to be allowed and capacity of the province to absorb arriving persons,” Diaz said, Gov. Lacson will issue the letter of no objection to what VTI has requested.*