CHR expresses concern over arrest of jeepney drivers
MANILA, Philippines—The Commission on Human Rights on Saturday sounded off on the arrest and detention of six jeepney drivers of transport group Piston in Caloocan City.
CHR Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Anne de Guia said in a statement that those arrested belong to the age bracket that is most at-risk during the COVID-19 pandemic and have pre-existing health conditions such as hypertension and diabetes making them vulnerable to the virus.
Of those who were arrested for voicing out their pleas on the jeepney ban on June 2, one is 72-year-old Elmer Cordero.
Reuben Baylon, Wilson Ramilla, Severino Ramos, Ramon Paloma, and Arsenio Ymas Jr. are also detained at New Caloocan City Hall’s custodial facility.
“The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) expresses deep concern over the arrest of six PISTON drivers in Caloocan City this week after they petitioned the on-going ban on jeepney operations even under the general community quarantine (GCQ). They are still in detention as of this writing for allegedly violating quarantine rules,” said de Guia.
“Jeepney drivers, and other members of the public transportation sector, continue to lose their source of income for at least two and a half months now since mass transportation in Metro Manila was suspended to control the spread of Covid-19.”
The CHR also urged the government to make the necessary adjustments so that there is enough public transport options for commuters and transport workers will still be able to make a decent living in during the pandemic.
This is of course as long as both commuters and transport workers comply with social distancing protocols.
“As we transitioned to the ‘new normal’ this week, around 30% of Metro Manila commuters went back to work despite the threat of the virus and the limited availability of public utility vehicles on the road. Based on reports, many of the commuter population were left to fend for themselves going to work and were even forced to walk for miles,” said de Guia.
Similarly, de Guia added that the government should provide short and long-term interventions to protect bikers in their commute as some people already took to using bicycles to get to and from work.
The CHR also called on the Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Trade and Industry to urge employers to provide shuttle services for their workers and to shift to alternative work arrangements.
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