Government should rev up efforts to help restore the livelihood of thousands of jeepney drivers who have remained off the road since the lockdown was enforced in March due to COVID-19, Sen. Grace Poe said Thursday.
As quarantine measures can only accommodate a limited number of vehicles at a time, she said jeepney organizations with the help of the national and local government may link up with private companies needing services for their delivery business.
“Jeepney drivers were among the first casualties of the lockdown, but appeared to be last to get help,” Poe said.
“We cannot just wait until the virus disappears while hunger stalks the drivers and their families. They have needs for food, rent and education of their children,” she added.
Poe led a consultation meeting with key representatives of transport federations at the compound of FPJ Studios in Quezon City to hear their situation and find solutions to their lack of livelihood.
The senator said transport groups will be hold the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board to its promise to allow traditional jeepneys back on the road.
The 1,500 modern jeepneys with permit to travel but with reduced capacity due to social distancing do not satisfy the demand of the commuting public, she said.
There are around 170,000 jeepney units nationwide, including 55,000 plying in Metro Manila.
“It is indisputable that the modern jeepneys on the road do not meet the demand of the commuting workers who brave the travel to help get the economy back on its feet,” Poe said.