Jeepney groups object hiring drivers as contact tracers

Some jeepney associations are not in favor of hiring drivers as “contact tracers” of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) now that they are still prohibited from operating under the general community quarantine (GCQ) in Metro Manila.

Presidential spokesperson earlier said the government is looking at providing livelihood to jeepney drivers.

However, jeepney organizations such as PISTON, FEJODAP, and ACTO rejected the idea of having drivers as contact tracers because it is dangerous. The drivers also do not have skills for the medical process, the groups added.

Contact tracing is the process that is used to identify and observe people who had contact with COVID-19 positive patients, according to the Department of Health (DOH).

“Kung isang tsuper ang anak ko at ganyan ang gagawin, hindi ko po papayagan,” Zeny Maranan, national chairman of the FEJODAP group, explained in a dzBB interview.

(If my child is a driver and he would do contact tracing, I will not allow him.)

“Kahit na anong gutom namin, na sinasabing seswelduhan nang P350, eh ‘yung ayuda nga hindi ibinibigay eh. ‘Yan pang P350, ibibigay?”

(No matter how hungry we were, they said the salary is P350. They did not give the cash aid, how much more the P350?)

Also read: DOH needs P11.7 billion to hire contact tracers

Jeepney groups object hiring drivers as contact tracers

Maranan said that it is good that the Department of Transportation and Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board is considering how to provide drivers with livelihoods.

“Talagang inilalagay na nila ang mga tsuper sa isang [sitwasyon] na gusto na nilang mamatay na ito, mahawa na sila, pati ang pamilya… wala silang malasakit sa mga tsuper,” the FEJODAP leader added.

(They are putting the drivers in a [situation] where they want them to die, they could get infected, as well as their family. They don’t care about the drivers.)

The Department of Labor and Employment earlier said that drivers would be given the job of clearing the road. They could also study at the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to make a living. None of the plans pushed through, Efren de Luna, president of ACTO, said.

The PISTON militant group also objected to the proposal, as drivers were not health experts.

When it comes to qualifications for a contact tracer, DOH seeks to hire workers with a medical background, particularly nurses, or graduate or undergraduate of other medical courses.