‘Bayanihan 2’ must bar phaseout of traditional jeepneys — Poe
MANILA, Philippines — The proposed Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or Bayanihan 2 should include a provision barring any phaseout of traditional public utility jeepneys (PUJs), Senator Grace Poe said.
Poe, Senate committee chair on public services, said that commuters already lack transportation options even before the pandemic, and phasing out PUJs will only add up to their burden once they return to work.
“‘Yun naman talaga palagi ang aking tinatayuan. Dapat pag roadworthy, ibig sabihin ligtas, hindi smoke belcher, payagan naman natin,” Poe said Wednesday in an interview over Teleradyo when asked if she agreed to include such provision in the proposed measure.
(That’s what I’ve always stood for. If it’s roadworthy, meaning it’s safe and it’s not a smoke belcher, then we should allow them to operate.)
“Dati kulang na nga tayo ng masasakyan. Pag bumalik ang ating mga kababayan sa trabaho, granted na may work-from-home, at yung MRT (Metro Rail Transit) ay hindi nag-full capacity, wala naman tayong choice,” she added.
(We already lacked transportation before. If the public returns to their jobs, granted that there is work-from-home and the MRT does not operate in full capacity, we don’t have any other choice.)
Poe also cited the rising unemployment in the country caused by the pandemic in opposing the phaseout of PUJs.
“Marami nawawalan ng trabaho. Anong gagawin mo sa kanila? Maraming OFW (overseas Filipino workers) ang umuuwi, walang trabaho. Maraming restaurants ang nalulugi. Tapos ito pang pinakamahihirap ang malaking dagok pag pinatanggal natin lahat yan,” she said.
(Many will lose their jobs. What will we do to them? Many OFWs have returned home and don’t have work. Many restaurants are suffering financial losses. And now the poorest will experience a big setback if we remove their source of livelihood.)
Last week, some 6,000 traditional jeepneys deemed “roadworthy” resumed operations to 49 routes in Metro Manila amid the general community quarantine.
Despite this, transport group Piston said the number of approved routes by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board remained small compared to the number of jeepney drivers displaced by the lockdown measures since mid-March.
And while the group acknowledged allowing some PUJs to return to roads, Piston said the government “is still launching its jeepney phaseout amid the pandemic to pave the way for the imported and expensive ‘modern’ jeeps in exchange for traditional jeeps.”
But Malacañang previously said there is no truth that the government was pushing for the jeepney phaseout program amid the pandemic.
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