“This is because, as we all know, they are going through a hard time as they are still not allowed to ply their routes. The additional assistance is now being readied,” he explained in Filipino.
STAR/Walter Bollozos, file
Drivers to get 3rd cash aid this month
Christina Mendez (The Philippine Star) - June 5, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Jeepney drivers will be provided with the third tranche of cash assistance this month to help them and their families cope with the crisis caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), presidential spokesman Harry Roque said.

“This is because, as we all know, they are going through a hard time as they are still not allowed to ply their routes. The additional assistance is now being readied,” he explained in Filipino.

Roque said the government is looking at the possibility of tapping the affected drivers as contact tracers for the government’s fight against COVID-19.

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the government can tap into the P18-billion fund to hire more contact tracers.

But two transport groups are divided over Malacañang’s offer, with Pasang Masda in favor and Piston thumbing it down.

Obet Martin, Pasang Masda president, supports the proposal, saying this could really help hard-pressed drivers to earn a living again.

“At this point in time when there is still a pandemic, let’s look for a job for our drivers that is temporary… This will already be a big help in the meantime that we are still not allowed to operate,” he said in a phone interview.

Piston president Mody Floranda opposes the Palace’s idea, saying this is not the forte of jeepney drivers, a point that Martin said could easily be solved by providing training and seminars before they will be sent out to the field.

Jeepney drivers are among the hardest hit by the lockdown as they have been forced to stop operations for almost three months. There are around 65,000 public utility jeepney units in Metro Manila alone.

Meanwhile, lawyer Henrie Enaje said the six elderly drivers arrested for holding a protest along EDSA last Tuesday are at risk of contracting the coronavirus while they remain in detention.

He appealed to policemen to withdraw the charges on “humanitarian grounds.” Romina Cabrera, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Mayen Jaymalin, Marc Jayson Cayabyab

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