Resumption of Negros inter-provincial bus trips “still risky”

PHOTO CAPTION: The Provincial Inter-Incident Management Team has recommended to Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson to put on hold the proposed resumption of bus trips between the two Negros provinces, deeming it unsafe at this time./iNews

BACOLOD CITY–“Still risky.”

This was the assessment of the Provincial Incident Management Team (PIMT) relayed to Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson after reports spread on social media that Ceres bus trips of Vallacar Transit Inc., from Negros Occidental to its neighbor Negros Oriental had resumed last week.

Atty. Rayfrando Diaz, provincial administrator, said on Tuesday, October 26, that the resumption of bus trips between the two Negros provinces is still on hold and under negotiation between the provincial government and the bus firm.

On October 25 alone, Negros Oriental logged a total of 855 new COVID-19 cases in one day. The capital Dumaguete City recorded 229 new cases; Sibulan, 72; Bayawan City, 70, and Canlaon City, 47.

Cumulatively, the province has had 2,530 confirmed cases.

RISKIER

With Negros Oriental’s risk level at Level 4, there’s more at stake for Occidental should the lanes of transportation between the two provinces open up.

“We are low risk at Level 2. It would be counter-productive to Occidental’s campaign against COVID-19 if we allow unimpeded or unchecked travel between the two provinces,” Diaz said.

Nevertheless, he said they are currently trying to find a solution to the problem especially since Occidental is already open to fully vaccinated individuals.

“We advised VTI to talk with the provincial government of Negros Oriental and convince them to agree with the proposed health protocols set up by the Occidental side of the island,” Diaz disclosed.

The proposal allows travel between the two provinces only of individuals who have completed their vaccination; those who haven’t or are unvaccinated are required to present a negative RT-PCR test result.

The trips will also be “point-to-point”, meaning the bus will not be allowed to take in new passengers along the way and passengers can only disembark at the terminal of their destination.

“We hope that the situation in Negros Oriental improves soon. Once it is safe, we will resume normal transportation within this island,” Diaz said.

Currently, only private vehicles are allowed to travel between the two provinces, and travelers are required to register via the S-PaSS system. Authorities also strictly check every vehicle entering the province to make sure that they are registered.

The resumption of bus trips between the two Negros provinces was proposed early this year but was immediately shelved due to the threat of the Delta variant of COVID-19. (Eugene Y. Adiong/iNews-Bacolod/Negros Bureau)

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