Helpless jeepney drivers cry for help; still no cash assistance from SAP received

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A jeepney driver, just one of the many who have been stripped off of their livelihoods during the pandemic, cries for help as the government seems to be deaf from their needs amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Gildebrando Diolata, a driver who is relying on cash aids from the social amelioration program of the government, was reduced to tears when asked if he was able to receive assistance.

He said he was not able to receive financial assistance from the first tranche and even the second one. Diolata could not understand why no one can help them.

“Sa DSWD, ma’am, wala na kaming pag-asa, umaasa kami sa LTFRB dahil nu’ng pumunta ako ng DSWD ang sabi sa akin, wala sa kanila, nasa LTFRB. Ang sabi naman ng LTFRB, ipinasa na nila sa DSWD. Parang pinagpasa-pasahan lang po kami,” said Diolata. 

[In DSWD, we have no hope, they said we should head to LTFRB for help. Then, LTFRB passed us on to DSWD. They are just throwing us back and forth to each other.]

For almost 120 drivers including Diolata, only 10 were able to receive cash assistance.

Although they want to return to the roads instead of asking for assistance, the enforcement of MECQ forbid them to.

“May magbibigay ng tig-5 kilo ng bigas o noodles, yun na lang pinagkakasya namin. Wala naman po kaming magawa,” Clenio Chua Jr., another driver, said.

[Someone will give us 5 kilos of rice or noodles. We just make the most of it. We have no other choice.]

Some were able to receive SAP subsidies, but it still was not enough to provide for their needs. Another problem they face is rental fees in their terminals that they haven’t been able to pay for 5 months now.

Aside from cash assistance, all drivers and operators want is to go back to work.

“We only wish they see us like them, equal to them,” cries Diolata.

House committees to hold hearings during break

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Spread the loveMANILA – The House of Representatives has authorized for its committees to conduct hearings during the five-week congressional break, extending until late April.