Only roadworthy jeepneys may be allowed on streets, says Palace
Only roadworthy traditional jeepneys could ply the streets of Metro Manila to augment public transportation amid the coronavirus disease pandemic, Malacañang said on Thursday.
In a virtual press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque also denied that the government is using the pandemic to fully phase out jeepneys and push for transport modernization.
"If the number of public vehicles is not enough, the use of traditional jeeps is now being considered for as long as they are roadworthy," he said.
Jeepney drivers and operators have been protesting the government's decision not to allow this mode of public transportation since March following the Luzon-wide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus.
A group of jeepney drivers and operators have threatened to burn some jeepney units if the government continues to bar them from operating while other modes of public transport have already been allowed.
"On the threat of the drivers that they will burn PUJs (public utility jeepneys) and they are saying that we're matching the COVID-19 pandemic with the modernization and phase out of jeeps, there's no truth to that," Roque said.
He said the government respects the right of the drivers to express themselves, but they should not make any threat.
Roque also said that the public modernization program has been there since 2016 even before the pandemic.
He said that the government is ready to provide P160,000 subsidy for the drivers who would avail of the modernization program.
"We are thinking the welfare of the commuters and this is not an issue of the rich or the poor," Roque added. Celerina Monte/DMS