BISHOP Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos called on the Philippine government to allow the resumption of mass transport operations and to help displaced drivers.
The prelate, who heads the Church People-Workers Solidarity, said jeepney drivers in the country are left with no sources of livelihood since the lockdown in March.
“Even before the pandemic, jeepney drivers and their families are already in difficult economic situations,” said Bishop Alminza. “Now, the situation worsens,” he added.
Jeeps are the most popular means of public transportation in the Philippines. They are known for their elaborate designs and have become a symbol of Philippine culture and art.
Jeeps or jeepneys are still restricted to operate across the country even after the easing of lockdown measures because of its seating design that does not allow “physical distancing.”
Bishop Alminaza said the resumption of the jeepney operations will help thousands of drivers and operators revive their livelihood and transport service for front-liners and workers.
He also called on the government to conduct mass testing for drivers and other public transport workers to ensure their safety and the commuting public.
The bishop also called for the release of the “long-overdue” financial aid for the transport sector.