Philippines eyes fresh cash aid for jeepney drivers

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 04 2020 01:18 PM

A member of the PNP NCRPO Battalion inspects the IDs of jeepney passengers passing through coastal road in Parañaque on March 15, 2020. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The government is studying giving jeepney drivers cash aid for June, Malacañang said Thursday as they remain unable to ply roads due to restrictions.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said officials are studying the possibility of a fresh round of cash aid for jeepney drivers who have lost their income due to the COVID-19 crisis.

"Pinag-aaralan na po bigyan ng pangatlong buwang ayuda ang mga jeepney drivers po na nawalan ng hanapbuhay po dahil hindi pa po pinapayagan na bumiyahe ang ating mga jeepney," Roque said in a Palace press briefing.

(We are studying giving cash aid to jeepney drivers for the 3rd month because jeepneys are still not allowed as a mode of public transport)

"Ito po ay manggagaling pa rin sa Bayanihan Act," he added, referring to the law that granted President Duterte additional powers to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

(This will come from the Bayanihan Act)

Transport group Piston earlier said there were 500,000 jeepney drivers and 200,000 small jeepney operators who lost their income due to the crisis.

Jeepney drivers who lost their income are entitled to cash aid ranging from P5,000 to P8,000 from the government.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development on Thursday said it has distributed cash aid to some 36,200 jeepney drivers who lost their income due to the lockdowns.

Until June 21, public transport is limited to train and bus augmentation units, taxis, ride-hailing cars, point-to-point buses, shuttle services, and bicycles.

Tricycles are also allowed subject to the approval of local government units while provincial buses are still barred from entering Metro Manila.

From June 22 to June 30, the Department of Transportation said public utility buses, modern jeepneys, and UV express vans would be allowed to operate.