The city government here is looking for ways to help the public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers as their means of income will still be affected once the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) will be lifted.
Mayor Sara Duterte in an interview with UNTV News and Rescue on Monday said social distancing will still be enforced beyond the ECQ on the recommendation of medical doctors to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
In recent reports, the national government and health officials have stressed the strict implementation of designated social distancing measures for establishments, workplaces, and public transportation modes in preparation for the lifting of the ECQ.
The City Transport and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO) already came up with a social distancing model that all PUJs in Davao City must follow.
“If they fail to follow the design, they will not be allowed to travel and hire passengers,” she said.
According to the CTTMO recommendation, there should be a space between jeepney commuters, which means that the passenger load would be halved. As a result, the income of the drivers would be severely affected.
“We are thinking of ways and other interventions for the jeepney drivers on how we could help them because of their (possible) loss of income due to the social distancing requirement told to us by the (medical) doctors to implement on our jeepneys,” Duterte said.
There are more than 12,000 jeepney drivers in the city and the budget allocated by the Department of Labor and Employment for their financial assistance is almost depleted. Also, less than a fraction of the total drivers were enrolled in the program.
Previously, the city enrolled the drivers under the Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (Tupad) program of the DOLE.
With Tupad, the PUJ drivers served as “implementers of the city government of Davao” in promoting social distancing and proper wearing of masks to the public. The PUJ drivers were also tasked to conduct sanitation activities in their respective communities.
“[S]o we are thinking on how to help the drivers,” Duterte said.