Around 2,000 public utility jeepney drivers have been given cash aid by the government.
Norman Baloro, Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) commissioner for Mindanao, and Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad) officer, said that as of Monday, there are still slots from the 54 routes that are still available.
The city government, through the Department of Labor and Employment’s Tupad program, is helping jeepney drivers whose daily income will be affected by the COVID-19. They will be given P11,880 per month to cushion the fall due to the mandated social distancing.
Mayor Sara Duterte also said that drivers under the Tupad program can also be included in the distribution of ration cards since these drivers also lost some of their earnings.
According to the City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) data, the slots for drivers operation in the areas of Toril, Calinan, Mandug, Callawa, Catalunan Grande, and Jade Valley are already full.
He also said that PUJ drivers who already enrolled in the program can start operating as a Tupad-grantee driver. The program is meant to ensure the continued available transportation for commuters who need to work or buy necessities amid the community quarantine.
He also reminded the drivers to disinfect and be responsible as they work.
“We made this program so that we still have jeepneys in the city who will cater to those who need to access a ride. It is very important that we emphasize that aside from driving, it is also their job to disinfect and sanitize their own jeepney units. They should also observe social distancing,” he said.
The city government has also assigned law enforcers to man the streets and monitor these jeepneys. Drivers who do not practice social distancing will face a fine of at least P5,000.
Meanwhile, taxi and tricycle drivers have also appealed to be included in the program.
“As much as we want to accommodate all the transport sector, we still have to prioritize some,” Baloro said, adding that discussions will be done with CTTMO to decide if they will expand the program.
Meanwhile, the CTTMO said that PUJ drivers should no longer submit their applications to their office. Instead, they can submit their application documents online.
Baloro said that jeepney association heads will be given instructions on how to process the application online and be disseminated to their members. This is to ensure that no mass gathering will occur.
Recently, the CTTMO has suspended the processing at their office as social distancing wasn’t observed.