Palace spokesman Harry Roque on Thursday said provincial bus operations once the second phase of public transport operations officially rolls out on June 22 remained uncertain.

While provincial buses were initially on the list of the public transport vehicles to be allowed in the second phase, Roque said the extension of Metro Manila’s general community quarantine (GCQ) could delay the resumption.

“Pag-uusapan po ng IATF kung papayagan na po ang mga provincial buses na kasama po sa orihinal na plano ng DOTr (Department of Transport),” Roque said in a Palace briefing.

“Kung maalala ninyo po, prinisenta rin namin dito iyong second phase ng plano ng DOTr at kasama po diyan ang operasyon ng provincial buses, pero ang assumption po noon ay magiging modified GCQ na po ang Metro Manila,” he added.

Roque told the public to wait for subsequent DOTr announcements before June 22.

Modern PUVs and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-approved “road-worthy” jeepneys will be allowed in the second phase.

The spokesman reiterated that the reopening of public transport remained “calibrated, partial and in phases” and that quarantine protocols needed to be adhered to.

Ako Bicol party-list Rep. Elizaldy Co on June 15 appealed for the immediate resumption of provincial bus operations to ease transport while maintaining current health protocols.

“With all due respect, the national government and LGUs must discuss, agree and lay down clear-cut guidelines for bus operators and commuters. The goal is to allow stranded Filipinos to ride provincial buses while minimizing risks of potential COVID-19 infection,” Co said.

“It doesn’t have to be this way. I’m sure we can all agree on a set of clear, systematic and non-redundant guidelines. We owe it to our kababayans,” he added. John Ezekiel J. Hirro