Press Release
August 12, 2020


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.

As quarantine measures can only accommodate a limited number of vehicles at a time, the senator said jeepney organizations with the help of national and local government may link up with private companies needing services for their delivery business so that the drivers could start earning.

"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.

On Wednesday, 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.

Poe also handed out 200 relief packs to the groups as her way of directly easing the plight of the badly hit sector.

Her team also distributed 800 packs of relief goods at transportation terminals in Manila, Quezon City, and Caloocan City.

The senator said transport groups will be on watch for the commitment of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board 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.

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.

Poe reiterated that a modernization program of public utility vehicles (PUVs) that would totally sideline traditional jeepneys or even a creeping phaseout is inhumane in this time of pandemic.

National government and local government units should also prioritize displaced PUVs in tapping vehicles for their needs to deliver or purchase supplies, transport employees and other mobility requirements.

Poe reminded that PUVs should be COVID-19-free and that safety and health protocols should be observed while they are in use.

Poe also noted that jeepney drivers were among the sectors most affected by the pandemic. The Philippine Statistics Authority earlier reported that land transportation as a whole contracted by a massive 65.6% in the second quarter of 2020, equivalent to a net loss of 72.28 billion pesos compared to the same period last year.

News Latest News Feed