Elderly PUV drivers appeal to be allowed to resume driving despite age

Marje Pelayo

MANILA, Philippines – Buses, modern jeepneys, and UV Express units will be allowed to ply on major roads starting June 22 on the condition of limited passenger capacity and under strict social distancing protocols. 

But based on the guidelines issued by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), elderly drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV) or senior citizens are still not allowed to go back to driving as they are part of the vulnerable sector who are prone to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infection.

This was what the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) said in Resolution No. 28 issued on April 23 saying that the elderly or senior citizens are among the high-risk individuals.

But some drivers appealed to the government to allow them to go back to their job, especially those who are fit to drive like Alberto Manuel Jr. 

Manuel said he can still drive at his age of 76 and being a jeepney driver has been his ‘bread and butter’ for almost 56 years now. 

“Ang lisensya ko sa 2023 pa mag-expire. Pagdating ng 2023 ang edad ng lisensya ko 59 years na, mag-si-senior citizen na rin[ My license will expire in 2023. Come 2023, my license will be 59 years old, close to being a senior citizen as well],” Manuel said.

“Malakas pa naman ako. Malinaw pa ang mata ko [I’m still strong. My vision is still clear], he added.

Also an elderly, Allan Ocampo has been a jeepney driver for 30 years now. 

He is a member of ‘Barcads,’ a group of UV Express drivers in Novaliches, Quezon City.

Ocampo said the government should take into consideration the condition of senior citizens who are still able to drive as this is their only source of income. 

Sa akin hangga’t malakas kahit senior na [For me, (I can still work) as long as I’m strong despite being a senior citizen],” Ocampo said.

“Parang inaalisan na nila ng karapatan ang isang tao, ang isang senior na gusto pang magtrabaho [It’s like they have taken away the rights of a person, the rights of an elderly who still wants to earn a living],” added Carlito Tumbaga who is also a senior citizen.

Meanwhile, the UNTV News team has sought the LTFRB’s side on the issue but the agency has no reply as of this writing. MNP (with reports from Dante Amento)

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