BY CHRYSEE G. SAMILLANO
The number of jeepney drivers participating in the “libre sakay (free ride)” program of the Bacolod City Government has been increased to ferry essential workers.
Bacolod Councilor Dindo Ramos, chair of the Sangguniang Panlungsod Committee on Transportation and Traffic, said they increased the number of drivers from 42 last week to a total of 63 because they have observed that there is a high demand for jeepneys that will serve essential workers since Bacolod City is under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ) until Sept. 30.
Ramos said there are now nine public utility jeepneys (PUJs) servicing medical and essential workers from each seven terminals in different barangays in Bacolod City from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Of the nine PUJs, three will serve medical workers and six are for essential workers or employees whose establishments/offices are allowed to operate under MECQ, he said.
Ramos said he has authored a resolution asking the city mayor to provide financial or food assistance to affected sectors, such as drivers, entertainers, waiters, among others, that had been approved by the SP recently.
He said the city is looking for ways to help those affected by the MECQ, like the drivers, by giving them an opportunity to earn.
Meanwhile, Bacolod Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., in a press release, said that in this pandemic, it is the poor and the poorest of the poor hit the hardest. They constitute 70 percent of the city’s population, of which 40 percent are residing in slums and squatter areas, and 60 percent are dependent on their means of livelihood in the informal, backyard, or underground economy.*