MANILA - The Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations (ACTO) on Friday urged the government to allow them back on the road by opening all routes in Metro Manila.
ACTO National President Efren de Luna said their members and their families continue to suffer from the impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. They have also not received government’s subsidy.
“Ang aming hiling, kung hirap na talagang magbigay ng ayuda ang DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) ay bigyan na kami ng pagkakataon na lahat ng ruta palabasin na. Kung talagang walang kakayahan, doon lamang sa paglabas namin ng aming mga sasakyan doon na lang kami kukuha ng pagkain namin sa pang araw-araw, sa pambili man lamang ng bigas,” said De Luna.
(Our request is if the DSWD can't give us aid, give us a chance and allow us to operate in all routes. That's the only way we can earn something for food, to buy rice at least.)
Recent months have seen jeepney drivers begging on the streets, desperate to get food for their families.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) had allowed the return of 6,000 PUJs to ply 47 routes in Metro Manila in July. De Luna said this was followed by another batch, with 3,000 units allowed to go back on the road.
But not all their members were able to return. He said only about 20 to 30 percent resumed operation as many decided to go home to their respective provinces.
They also find it hard to follow the requirements set by the LTFRB to allow them to resume operation.
Aside from observing minimum health protocols, drivers must secure a printed copy of the QR code issued by the LTFRB to their operators and place it on their windshield as proof that they are allowed to ply a route. They also have to sign a joint affidavit surrendering their franchise, said De Luna.
He pointed out that commuters need the service they provide especially at this time of a pandemic. He added that the fare remains affordable to commuters at P9.
“Win-win solution, panalo ang driver, panalo ang mananakay, panalo ang ekonomiya… Dapat pagbigyan ang lahat dahil hindi naman lahat ng mga ruta, ng mga nasa ruta makakatakbo. Halos 20-30 percent lamang ang puwedeng tumakbo dahil karamihan nasa probinsiya na,” he said.
(It's going to be a win-win solution, the driver wins, the commuter wins, the economy wins... Everyone should be allowed to go out because not even everyone who plied a particular route before will be able to go out. Just 20 to 30 percent because most have gone back to their provinces.)