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City to aid drivers

Public Utility Jeepney (PUJ) drivers in the city will be given financial aid to cover their income loss due to the impact of social distancing.

Mayor Sara Duterte, in an interview at 87.5 FM Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR), said that PUJ drivers will be receiving P11,880 per month until the public health emergency will be lifted. Under the released guidelines, PUJs are only allowed to have half of their normal seating capacity.

“As we have mandated all people, including public transportations, to observe social distancing, we acknowledge that PUJ drivers will mostly be affected,” Duterte said, adding that proper social distancing is at least a meter apart from each other.

She said that all public utility drivers will be enrolled under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

She said that she can’t halt the operations of these public utility vehicles for it may affect those who need to access a ride. She said it will also affect their income if they are mandated to hold off their operations.

“We just told them to continue driving, because public utility vehicles are of public service,” she said, adding that there are still who are going outside their homes for necessary transactions or works.

She said the assistance will help them to cope with the current situation caused by the COVID-19.

According to the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO), there are 12,264 PUJ drivers and 6,985 PUJ operators in the city.

CTTMO chief Dionisio Abude said they are conducting inspection and monitoring against drivers who refused to follow the rule for social distancing.

Based on the memorandum from the Department of Transportation, drivers who still cramp up passengers would be facing a penalty of P5,000.

Meanwhile, Duterte mandated the public to wear masks when taking public transportation.

“Those who will be riding public utility vehicles such as buses, vans, jeepneys, and tricycles are mandated to wear masks and that social distancing is a must,” she said.

“It is mandatory to wear a mask when taking public transportation. If you are wearing cloth face masks, you should put a handkerchief inside the mask to double its cloth since the cloth alone is not enough to hold droplets when you cough,” she added.

She said that due to the shortage of mask supplies, doctors have designed a mask that will be distributed to the local government units (LGU). LGUs are also ordered to make the prescribed face masks and distribute it to those who are working and are taking public transportation.

“It’s not the same as N95 masks, but it is acceptable, following our current situation of having mask scarcity,” she said.

She also said that they are already preparing these masks for fabrication.
Duterte said the city will be producing 10,000 masks to be distributed to the commuters and drivers through the CTTMO.

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