BY MARCHEL P. ESPINA
Public utility vehicle drivers in Bacolod are crying for help as they have no more food to feed their families following the suspension of public transport after the city was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine until September 30.
Around 100 drivers trooped to the Fountain of Justice yesterday afternoon to ask for help from the city officials.
They held banners with messages such as “Maluoy man kamo sa amon. Mangayo kmi bulig, pagkaon (Have pity on us. We’re asking for help and food)”, “Ibalik ang public transport (Bring back public transport)”, and “Implementar padasigon ang natalana nga ayuda. Now na (Fast-track the release of assistance)”.
They were joined by Councilor Wilson Gamboa Jr., who is supporting the call of the transport sector for assistance.
Diego Malacad, secretary-general of the United Negros Drivers Operators Center, said more drivers would have joined them, but they were stranded as there was no available transportation.
He said they are calling on the city government to modify the protocol and allow public transport to operate.
They can allow 50 percent to operate at an odd-even scheme to control the movement of the public and jeepneys.
He added they already submitted their appeal to the Sectoral Concerns Office headed by executive assistant Ernie Pineda.
Moreover, he said that drivers are doing odd jobs, such as repairs, just so they can feed their families.
He said the food packs they received from the city government last time were useless because the goods were spoiled and the rice had a bad smell.
Malacad said if they could not get assistance soon, they could all be dead by September 30, the last day of the implementation of MECQ, as they have no more food on their tables.*