Resume jeepney operations, stop worsening commuters’ misery – Anakpawis
Manila, Philippines – As the first day of the general community quarantine in Metro Manila was exposed with the worsened miseries of poor commuters, the Anakpawis Party-list reiterated its call to resume jeepney operations and stop the continuing socio-economic crime against small drivers and operators who are at present without daily incomes for their families. He also slammed transportation secretary Arthur Tugade for his lame statement of not promising convenience for the commuters.
“The Duterte government’s policy of barring jeepney operations is indisputably a man-made disaster. We are all familiar that prior to the pandemic, commuters face daily hardship during rush hour, thus, but the government with all its resources and machinery opted to be passive,” Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list former representative said in a press statement.
He added that Tugade’s apology is useless as misery still awaits the ordinary commuter. He said that a crucial measure to alleviate the situation is to allow jeepney operations under public health protocols.
“The poor sectors are already hammered by lost jobs and incomes, hunger and gloom, brought about by the lockdown, and now, government officials are still demanding patience and understanding. It is clear that the Duterte government is the one who does not understand the plight of the poor,” he said.
As a result, desperate commuters were forced to get on government utility vehicles, as depicted by reports of media entities. Many were also stranded and crowding along highways waiting for their ride. Not only that it was a pandemic hazard, but also of safety issues.
“So the government bars jeepney operations due to their claim of hazard of spreading the pandemic, but the by-product of their policy is a ticking time bomb to worsen the situation. This is not a ‘new normal,’ but an ‘abnormal’ policy-making,” he slammed.
He warned that the continued displacement of small jeepney drivers and operators is tantamount to violating the provisions of the constitution on social justice, human rights and labor. The constitution mandates reduction of social and economic inequalities, as well as protection to labor, and full employment and equality of employment opportunities. He urged the people to support the call of Piston transport group of “Balik Pasada,” for the interest of the poor commuters and small jeepney drivers and operators.
“This is condemnable that mere measures of pandemic response are essentially violating the socio-economic rights of poor sectors. Prohibiting jeepney operations is two-pronged against commuters and small jeepney drivers and operators. We urge the people to join the call ‘Balik Pasada,’” he ended. ###
Photo above by Pinoy Weekly.