I-Act intensifies drive vs “COVID-19 smuggling”; 11 “colorum” vehicles in Antipolo impounded

(Eagle News) — Authorities intercepted and later impounded eleven vehicles that clandestinely transported people untested for COVID-19 into the NCR plus bubble in violation of Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases guidelines, the Department of Transportation said.

According to the DOTr, the ten vans and one  taxi were intercepted by members of the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic in an anti-colorum operation along Circumferential Road in Barangay San Jose, Sumulong Hi-way and Manuel L. Quezon Exit on April 7.

Of the 11 vehicles, eight were illegally leased private vehicles operating as company service shuttles, two were  operating as public utility vehicles without authorization from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, and one was a public utility vehicle operating outside its LTFRB-authorized route.

The DOTr said the drivers were issued an Inspection Report Summons and the vehicles brought to the impounding area located in Magalang, Pampanga under the jurisdiction of the LTFRB.

The vehicles are subject to an impounding period of three months upon payment of the ₱120,000 fine for sedans and ₱200,000 fine for vans.

“The dangers of colorum operations have become more pronounced this ECQ, as they are avenues for heightened COVID-19 transmission inside and outside of the NCR plus bubble. Thus, the task force is putting great emphasis in apprehending these illegal transport activities for our collective safety,” said I-ACT Chief and DOTr A/S for Special Concerns Manuel Gonzales.

The intensified operations against the “colorum” vehicles came after Transportation Secretary Art Tugade warned operators not to be the cause of the spread of COVID-19.

This was after authorities stopped 12 “colorum” vehicles that had tried to enter different municipalities in Bicol region from Metro Manila, in violation of community quarantine restrictions.

Non-essential travel into and outside the NCR Plus bubble, which includes Metro Manila, is banned for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine.

The ECQ is expected to end on April 11.