The government has not permitted inter-provincial and inter-regional public travel in the Cordillera region and other areas while the community quarantine is still in force.

Francis Almora, regional director of the Land Transportation Office (LTO) – Cordillera, made the clarification during the Benguet Provincial Inter-Agency Task Force meeting.

He pointed out that in the past few months, special permits were given to some bus companies and UV express vans but only for special trips to transport locally stranded individuals (LSIs) from different areas in Luzon to their respective towns.

Almora clarified that only jeepneys and taxis recommended by local governments and granted special permits from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory and Board (LTFRB) were permitted to operate, but on a limited capacity following the protocols issued by the National Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

LTO, he said, had seen social media posts of some groups and individuals charging P2,500 to P4,000 per individual per trip from Baguio to different areas in Region 1, Region 3, the National Capital Region and Calabarzon.

Almora said these transactions were illegal and considered as “colorum and human smuggling,” as well as a health risk, as Covid-19 could be transmitted.

Some 30 “colorum” vehicles have been apprehended by the LTO, he said. Jojo Mangahis