'Pagsusulong ng jeepney modernization sa gitna ng pandemya, di makatarungan para sa mga drivers' - Robredo

Photos courtesy of ABS-CBN and Rappler

Vice President Leni Robredo expressed frustration over the issue of insisting for the modernization of public utility jeepneys (PUJ) in a time of pandemic would be an injustice for drivers who are losing their livelihood due to the quarantine protocols.

Although Robredo was not totally against the modernization of PUJs, but  pushing for such measure during the health crisis would be too much for jeepney drivers to bear.

“I am not against modernization. Iyong sa akin lang… to push that at this time and in this manner, I think, is very unfair to the jeepney drivers and operators na hindi pa kayang mag-modernize,” Robredo said in a television interview on Thursday (June 25).

“Sukdulan ito na wala na nga silang kita for three months tapos gagawin mo pa itong paraan para i-ease out iyong mga hindi nakapag-modernize. Kaya hindi sila nakakapag-modernize kasi hindi nga nila kaya… Dino-doble pa iyong tama sa drivers,” she added.

"Two years na nating pinag-uusapan ito, at iyong drivers, hindi sila totally against modernization. Gusto lang nila luwagan iyong terms para kayanin nila,"  the VP said.

Some jeepney drivers would even resorted to begging in the streets just to survive and feed their families.

Just imagine with no source of income for three months since the declaration of Enhanced Community Quarantine in March, their families have been starving.

While a group of jeepney drivers also got arrested for violating quaratine protocols after they held a protest from the governmentj so that they may be allowed to resume their operations.

Robredo explained that some groups of jeepney drivers and operators she spoke with in the past were amenable to modernization of jeepneys, as long as the terms of measure will give them ample time and resources to adjust to the change.

In a memorandum issued last June 19, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), it mentioned that it would only allow modern jeepneys or units compliant with the requirements set by the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines (OFG) to operate starting June 22.

Transport organizations were outraged with the said memorandum, with one group even speculated that the move was a preparation to the phaseout of conventional jeepneys.

The LTFRB clarified on Wednesday (June 24) that UV Express vans and conventional jeepneys will be allowed to ply their routes starting next week.

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