Leaders of public utility jeepney (PUJ) groups on Friday sought help from former House Speaker Alan Peter Cayetano in communicating to the national government the sector’s plight amid the pandemic as well as some long-standing concerns.
In an episode of the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program on October 8, 2021, the presidents of three nationwide PUJ associations took to Cayetano their need for dialogues with the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) to allow the majority, if not all, of PUJs to operate again.
“Hindi lang po para sa sarili nila ‘yan kundi para rin sa mga commuter at para din po sa mga negosyong nakasalalay din po sa pag-ikot nila,” Cayetano said.
(It’s not just for themselves but also for commuters and for businesses that depend on their trips.)
Boy Rebańo, national president of the Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association of the Philippines (FEJODAP), said he and his group’s members each used to earn a daily gross income of P1,800-P2,000 before the pandemic.
But now, he said, they are lucky if they can earn P500-600 a day.
“Binigyan lang po ng 50 percent capacity ang bawat nine-seater. Hindi po talaga sila kumikita (Each nine-seater was only given 50 percent capacity. They don’t really make money), ” he said during the Sampung Libong Pag-asa program’s Facebook livestream.
The transport leaders also sought help from Cayetano in holding dialogues with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and pushing for financial support to finally be able to purchase the required modernized jeepney units.
Lando Marquez, national president of the Liga ng Transportasyon at Operator ng Pilipinas (LTOP), said they want to comply with regulations but need help.
“Ayaw naming magkasakit ng hika, ayaw naming magkasakit ng TB, lalo na sa taumbayan — gusto naming i-deliver na siguradong safe ang aming pasahero, safe ang buhay namin, affordable ang pamasahe na kayang-kaya ng pasahero o manggagawa,” he said.
(We don’t want to get asthma, we don’t want to get TB, let alone our passengers — we want to get them to their destinations in safety, our lives in safety, and at a fare the passengers or workers can afford.)
He said he hopes Congress and the Senate would pass legislation that will reallocate “at least 10 percent” of the taxes being collected from gasoline, crude oil, battery, wheels, and spare parts to funding for transport groups.
Lando Marquez, national president of the Liga ng Transportasyon at Operator ng Pilipinas (LTOP), said their sector is being left out of the assistance being given by government.
“Taxpayer naman kami kasama ng 4Ps, kasama ng sin tax. Bakit kami na nagseserbisyo sa taumbayan, bakit wala kaming sariling pondo?” he said.
(We are also taxpayers just like the 4Ps beneficiaries and sin tax payers. Why do we who serve the people not have our own funds?)
Marquez thanked Cayetano for “embracing and taking care of the public transport groups” through various financial help even before the pandemic.
Cayetano vowed to collate all the concerns of the jeepney drivers and operators and facilitate talks with some senators, House members, and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).
“Hindi nila hinihinging lahat ng problema nila bigyan ng solusyon. Ang hinihingi nila, makinig naman po tayo sa kanila,” he said.
(They do not demand that all their problems be solved. What they are asking is for us to listen to them.)###