JUNE 27, 2020
Pasengers inside a jeepney with plastic divisions plying a route in Bacoor City, Cavite. UV express units and traditional jeepneys will be allowed to travel in Metro Manila starting next week after more than three months of suspension to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
INQUIRER PHOTO/LYN RILLON
Jeepney drivers, the manongs (and occasionally manangs!) that once helped you get to school or to work in the time known as pre-COVID-19, are some of the people severely affected by the pandemic. No longer allowed to ply the roads, they’ve become displaced. While you can help them out by supporting donation drives for the jobless drivers, what they truly need are more job opportunities to get them back on their feet.
The Makati City government is attempting to do that with its new “Dyipni Maki” project. Under this program, jeepney drivers will be hired to turn their jeepneys into mobile learning hubs that will visit the city’s different barangays. “Their jeepneys will be outfitted to transport books and other learning materials, teachers and librarians, and laptops with internet connection,” Mayor Abby Binay said. Parents can borrow the resource materials in the hubs which also act as a place for “learning and reading activities, book donation drives, and other projects that will promote reading in communities,” according to Inquirer.net.
The jeepneys will be deployed starting October, and the local city government, which is coordinating with the Makati Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association, will be paying P2000 for each mobile unit.
“Our initial target is 27 drivers hired. The number may still increase because the jeepney federation is proposing to do a rotation among its member-drivers. We are looking at 100 drivers per week eventually,” said Rita Riddle, the schools division superintendent of the Department of Education (DepEd)-Makati.
Teachers will also be hired to implement the project, with the local government unit estimating to hire at least 54 teachers.
“We believe this is a great opportunity for residents whose main livelihood as jeepney drivers has been abruptly cut short due to the pandemic. They, too, like the displaced teachers and tutors we have hired to operate the learning hubs, will have a regular income to support their families,” Binay said, adding, “We are glad that we have come up with this project that addresses multiple issues simultaneously. Not only will it help students and their parents cope with the new ‘blended learning’ approach in education, [it] will also provide much-needed employment to Makatizens.”