OVER a year since the pandemic started, jeepney drivers from the City of San Fernando still feel its negative effect on their livelihood.
According to Angeles-San Fernando Jeepney Operators and Drivers Association (Asferjoda) president Jun Castro, the transport sector has been one of the greatly devastated by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
"We weren't able to operate for three months during the enhanced community quarantine and when it was lifted, we were only allowed 30 percent to 50 percent of our original capacity," he said.
During the lockdown period, Castro said most of the association's resources were maxed out due to continuous relief operations conducted among their 700 members.
"Our members badly needed aid because we all lost our livelihood that's why aside from our organic resources, we also used the funds from the TPK (Trabaho, Kita, Presyo) program which was given to us by then Senator Allan Peter Cayetano back in 2013," he said.
In 2013, Taguig First District Representative and former House Speaker Cayetano gave cash grant to Asferjoda, which the group used to buy a jeepney and rented out to raise funds.
On Monday, June 7, Cayetano again came to the rescue of needy jeepney drivers by providing cash and in-kind relief assistance.
Asferjoda is one of the 10 associations in the province who were given grocery packs, immunity kits and P50,000 cash grant from Cayetano during a simple get-together in Barangay Sindalan, City of San Fernando.
The lawmaker said the activity is part of the "Kamustahan at Bayanihan" program which is aimed at looking after some communities who are affected by the pandemic.
Cayetano said the practice of bayanihan is really needed nowadays as the country is reeling from the effects of Covid-19 onslaught.
"In this time of pandemic, what we need is unity in helping each other recover from and rise above this setback," he said.
Cayetano has been advocating for unity instead of debate or argument in formulating a masterplan for health, economic and overall recovery.
Aside from the associations, Cayetano also visited farmers in Guagua town to distribute cash assistance under his Sampung Libong Pag-asa program.
At least 20 farmers received P10,000 cash grant, which is aimed at assisting them in their livelihood and daily expenses.
The lawmaker is also pushing for the 10,000 Ayuda Bill seeks to provide each Filipino family with a one-time P10,000 assistance or P1,500 per family member, whichever is higher.