MANILA, Philippines — Jeepney drivers in Manila were seen begging on the streets after losing their livelihood during the implementation of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The group of drivers, who are members of the Monumento, Baclaran, Blumentritt Transport Cooperative (MBBTC), took to Rizal Avenue to ask motorists for aid.
According to Noeme Bayona, one of the drivers, they are forced to seek help on the street now that the ECQ has been further extended in the National Capital Region (NCR).
“Nakakahiya sana manghingi pero tinitiis para may makain (It’s humiliating to beg but we endure it so we can have something to eat),” he said.
Most of the drivers are from far from their hometowns and have no other relatives living in Manila. In order to save money, they only eat once a day.
According to Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso, they have already provided aid to these jeepney drivers; however, they cannot sustain the supply due to the city’s limited sources.
“It was the local government unit of Manila that gave the first assistance,” he said.
Meanwhile, a group of mothers in Barangay 210, Sta. Cruz also took to the streets to ask motorists for assistance.
Evangeline Lousara, mother of one of the drivers, said they have already used up the assistance given by the Manila City government. They were also not listed in the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) of the national government.
“Lalo na sa mga maintenance namin kasi na-extend na po ang quarantine (Especially for our maintenance because the quarantine is extended),“ she said.
For Noeme, he only hopes for public transportation to resume operations. —AAC (with reports from Dante Amento)
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