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Pangilinan urges more jeepneys, UV Express on the road.

By Mario Casayuran

Opposition Senator Francis Pangilinan today urged the government to immediately allow jeepney and UV Express drivers to get back on the road as thousands of commuters still bear the brunt of lack of transport options.

"Araw-araw na kalbaryo ang nangyayari. Kapag pinayagan nang bumalik sa kalye ang jeepney at UV express, dalawang problema ang agad masosolusyonan: sasakyan para sa commuters at trabaho para sa jeepney at UV Express drivers," he said. (Every day is a calvary. There are two things that will be solved when jeepneys and UVs are allowed to go back to the streets: Transport for the commuters and jobs to jeepney and UV Express drivers.)

Pangilinan explained that unlike jeepneys and UV Express, the allowed P2P (Point to Point) buses could only serve on major highways, forcing commuters to walk for kilometers from their homes to bus stops.

"Napipilitan tuloy ang mga commuters, na pagod na sa trabaho, na maglakad ng kilo-kilometro papasok sa trabaho at pauwi sa bahay," he said. (As a result, commuters get tired because they walk several kilometers in going from their homes to bus stops.)

Despite the urgent need, Pangilinan said he wonders why government appears to be discriminating against traditional jeepneys and UV express in its choice for public utility vehicles (PUVs) to deploy around Metro Manila.

He said that insisting on modernization in this time of pandemic is "insensitive and ill-timed."

Transport groups like the Coalition of Operators and Drivers of UV Express Atbp. (Codex) and Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) earlier appealed to government to allow them to operate as their vehicles are ready to serve the public, complying with physical distancing measures.

"Pwede naman maipatupad ang mga health and safety protocols gaya ng physical distancing at regular disinfection sa mga tradisyunal na jeepney at UV Express. Naniniwala tayo na pagtutulungan ding ipatupad ng mga commuter itong mga protocol dahil walang may gusto na mahawaan ng virus," Pangilinan said. (Health and safety protocols could be enforced such as physical distancing and regular disinfection on traditional jeepneys and UV Express. We believe that commuters themselves would follow these protocols because they do not want to be infected.)

Malacanang had said that the return of jeepneys on the streets is still being studied, citing claims that physical distancing would be difficult to observe because of the seating arrangements on jeepneys.

"Mahigit tatlong buwan nang umaasa sa ayuda at panghihiram sa mga kaibigan at kamag-anak ang mga PUV drivers at ng pamilya nila; ang ilan nga ay napilitang mamalimos sa mga lansangan," Pangilinan said. (For three months, PUV drivers had waited for financial assistance and borrowed from friends and relatives; some were forced to beg on the streets.)

"Nakakatiyak tayo na handang maging bahagi muli ng work force ang mga PUV driver at tumulong na pasiglahin ang productivity para bumilis ang pag-unlad ng ekonomiya at maalis na sa gobyerno ang paggastos nang malaki para sa social amelioration," he added. (We are confident that PUV drivers will become part of the workforce and become productive to trigger economic development and eliminate the billions of pesos given by government to the idled workforce as social amelioration.)

CAPTION(S):

Sen. Kiko Pangilinan (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)
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Title Annotation:National; Francis Pangilinan
Author:Casayuran, Mario
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:9PHIL
Date:Jun 23, 2020
Words:540
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