Vice President Leni Robredo urged the government to allow jeepney drivers who remain out of work and income to resume operations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
This was among Robredo’s suggestions contained in her letter dated June 30 she sent to presidential spokesperson Harry Roque, a copy of which her office made public Monday.
Robredo said allowing the operations of jeepneys would address the lack of public transport and give jobs back to affected drivers.
“The prohibition of jeepneys took a huge toll on commuters because of the lack of public transportation. Likewise, it adversely affected jeepney drivers and operators who did not have income for more than three months,” she said.
The Vice President recommended the resumption of jeepney operations provided these strictly follow health and safety protocols.
“There have been many suggestions and recommendations by citizens on how to enforce these,” she said, noting the creation of dividers for seats to limit contact among passengers, retrofitting the jeepneys, and opening the sides of the jeepneys to ensure free flow of air.
“Innovative solutions such as these should have been studied as early as the start of the community quarantine in March so that they would have been ready for implementation as soon as restrictions were eased,” Robredo said.
Not all public utility jeepneys (PUJs) have been able to ply Metro Manila roads since last month after the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) only allowed the operations of modern jeepneys.
This has resulted to many jobless drivers begging for money and food on the streets, while voicing their calls to bring back their livelihood.
On the jeepney modernization program, Robredo suggested that better and more affordable loan terms should be created for operators.
The Vice President released the list of her recommendations to help the government in its COVID-19 response, among them online platform for loans and donations, shift to contracting system of jeepneys, installation of bike lanes, expansion of IATF composition, and regular reporting of the status of funds of both the local and national government.
The lady official crafted her recommendations on how to improve government’s COVID-19 response upon consultation with policy experts, medical professionals, and members of the academe.