A WEEK after Ang Probinsyano Partylist Representative Alfred Delos Santos called the attention of LTFRB on the financial assistance for jeepney drivers who have not yet received theirs pursuant to the Bayanihan Act, the LTFRB immediately responded and held a dialogue with Delos Santos.
Delos Santos initiated the dialogue with LTFRB after he spoke with drivers and operators plying the Commonwealth Avenue route. Jack Adora of the Balara-Katipunan Jeepney Operators Drivers Association told Delos Santos that they were promised P4,000 but have not received it until now.
Arnel Martin also lamented the difficult process of claiming their ayuda which requires the original franchise holders to sign, most of whom are either dead or are living in the province after having sold the franchise.
The drivers also told Delos Santos that prior to the pandemic, they were earning around P700 to P800 per day, but now, P200 is already considered a good day. The measly income makes it difficult for them and their families to buy basic necessities.
According to Delos Santos, “Marami pang jeepney drivers ang hindi pa rin naaabutan ng tulong ng pamahahalaan . Kaya sinikap naming magsilbing tulay para maiparating sa kaukulang ahensya ang kanilang hinaing nang makuha na nila ang ayudang para sa kanila”.
During a Zoom videoconference organized by Delos Santos with the LTFRB officials and jeepney drivers and operators representative, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra said that it is the DSWD which distributes the much needed ayuda and LTFRB’s participation involves only furnishing the list of jeepney drivers.
But Delgra still encouraged organizations of drivers and operators to submit the list of drivers who have not received financial assistance until now. According to Delgra, “Hindi dumaan sa amin ang pera, sila po ang nag-iimplement, give us the list of the drivers that you have already submitted to DSWD and we will follow it up with DSWD”.
Delgra added that the LTFRB does not want any jeepney driver to resort to asking for alms to survive. He also encouraged drivers and operators to consolidate or form cooperatives and join the government’s Service Contracting Program. Through this, he said that drivers will surely have income despite the pandemic.
“Everybody is suffering because of the pandemic, in so far as transport sector is concerned yung Service Contracting would be a big help na maiangat yung kita nyo, yun po ang gusto nating mangyari”, Delgra said.
NCR Regional Director Zona Russet Tamayo also added that upon signing the Service Contracting Program, drivers would receive P20,000. Operators need to submit certain documents for monitoring of their fleets, drivers and their trips. The LTFRB also sees this as a solution to drivers and transport groups fighting over passengers.
On the Commonwealth Transport Service & Development Cooperative’s complaints on their new routes, Delgra clarified that Commonwealth Avenue is now a bus route. “We have already made a policy na huwag na nating ibalik na naglalaban sa lansangan ang mga pampublikong sasakyan, kaya inayos ang mga ruta”. Delgra still ordered his team to clarify the routes for the drivers.
According to Aida Jumawan, General Manager ng Commonwealth Transport Service & Development Cooperative, they support LTFRB’s policies. They also saw the importance of the service contracting program. She added that they have already submitted the requirements and will just follow up on its status.
The dialogue ended on a positive note and LTFRB promised to do everything it can to help jeepney drivers especially now during the COVID-19 pandemic.