By Chito Chavez
Irate jeepney drivers and operators on Friday pleaded with the government to allow them to resume operations as their families are going hungry.
Jesse Pineda, who used to drive the Monumento/Malolos route in Bulacan before the lockdown, said the insufficient and slow delivery of food and non-food aid has caused serious difficulties to his family.
Pineda expressed concern about the health condition of his three daughters who have been feeding on a diet limited to sardines and instant noodles for almost 50 days.
“Ang hirap sa gobyerno, di makabigay ng sapat na ayuda para sa pagkain at iba naming pangangailangan. Hindi kami humihingi ng labis kung gusto nilang sa bahay lang kami pero dapat ibigay nila sa amin yung normal naming pangangailangan. Walang labis at walang kulang (The problem is the government is incapable of providing adequate assistance for our daily food and non-food needs. We are not asking for anything much. If they want us to stay home then they should give us the things we normally have, no more no less,’’ Pineda complained.
He also complained about the “malupit’’ (harsh) enforcement of quarantine protocols even in the face of apparently insufficient relief assistance.
“Parang nangangaya sila. Di naman sapat ayuda nila. Hindi patas yung ganun (They are throwing their weight around despite giving insufficient aid. It is not fair,’’ he added.
With regards to the social distancing guidelines, Pineda admitted that it is impossible to require strict adherence by the jeepney drivers.
“Kung ayaw nila kaming pumasada bigyan nila kami ng P500 kada araw na pantay sa pinakamababang kita ng driver (If they do not want us to operate then they should give us P500 a day which is equivalent to our minimum daily earning,’’ Pineda said.
Pineda branded as “kaululan’’ (stupidity) the assurance given by other jeepney drivers in Metro Manila on observance of social distance and other that quarantine rules, if they are allowed to resume operations.
“Hindi mo rin sila masisis na mangako ng imposible. Kahit bituin at araw pangangako nila dahil sa gutom (You cannot blame them for making empty promises. They will even promise the stars and the sun just to be allowed to operate because of hunger),’’ he ended.