MANILA - An "all-inclusive" solution is needed to aid jeepney drivers hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, a transport policy adviser said Sunday.
An "out of the box" solution such as allowing traditional jeepneys to run twice a week to give other drivers a chance, or employing them for delivery services, are needed, according to Tim Orbos, former general manager of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority.
"I think we need to dig deeper sa mga solusyon na hindi traditional... At yung solusyon na yun, all-inclusive. Dapat pagtulungan talaga, isiping mabuti kung paano mo matutulungan yung pangkalahatan at hindi lang yung ayuda," he told ABS-CBN's TeleRadyo.
(I think we need to dig deeper for solutions that are not traditional...and these should be all-inclusive. We should help each other, think of ways to assist everyone, and not just through cash aid.)
"Otherwise, kawawa talaga ang mga kasama natin. Tanggapin nating madaming magiging malungkot ngayong Pasko."
(Otherwise, they will remain pitiful. Let's accept many won't have a merry Christmas.)
Jeepney modernization is needed prior to the pandemic and can be delayed to help drivers of traditional vehicles, he added.
"Kung pwede lang i-review yung ibang proyekto ng gobyerno na tingin natin hindi pa naman kailangan ngayon. Kumbaga, aanhin mo yung damo kung wala naman yung kabayo," he said.
(If we can, we should review some government projects that aren't needed now.)
"Ang daming proyekto ng gobyerno na pwede namang isantabi muna para matulungan ang mga kapatid natin ngayon."
(Many government projects can be set aside for now to help our brothers in need.)
As for delivery services, sources, couriers, and customers must all ensure to disinfect the product and contactless payment should be urged, Orbos said, as part of measures against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Work hours can also be made 24 hours to avoid commuters flocking to public transportation every morning, he added.
"Bakit natin pinipilit ang trabaho every day sa araw lang? Ba't di mo gawing 24 hours ang trabaho> Unang-una, 'yun din ang tiyansa para magkaroon ng social distancing, para hindi lahat sabay-sabay sa umaga," he said.
(Why do we keep pushing for work during the daytime? Why not make it 24 hours? It's our chance to have social distancing, so that there's no overcrowding during the day.)
Metro Manila and nearby provinces are under modified enhanced community quarantine until Tuesday, under which public transportation is prohibited.