Members of the Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Operators Nationwide (PISTON) have not received single cash aid from the government for five months of lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Mody Floranda, national president of Piston, they continue to coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to include them in the beneficiaries of the government’s social amelioration program for sectors affected by the pandemic.
He said most of their members are already on the road and begging for help from the people because, until now, they have not even received any cash aid or any assistance from the government.
Floranda said they had previously submitted the corresponding document to the DSWD through the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board. However, they had only received promises and still had no assistance.
According to him, although the government allowed 6,002 jeepney drivers back in the road during GCQ, their operations stopped again after President Rodrigo Duterte placed Metro Manila and nearby provinces under modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).
Police arrested four alleged members of PISTON hours before Duterte’s fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2020.
They were arrested for allegedly violating rules against the use of traditional jeepneys amid general community quarantine, Metro Manila Police Chief Debold Sinas said.
In June, police arrested six jeepney drivers after protesting in Caloocan to urge the government to lift the ban of jeeps amid general community quarantine in Metro Manila.
Two of the so-called “PISTON 6” then tested positive for COVID-19.
DOH warns against fake contact tracers
The Department of Health (DOH) warned the public about the fake contact tracers who are only trying to extort money from the families they will visit and intimidate.
“This is to inform the public of a new scheme fraudulently misrepresenting the DOH. We have received reports of citizens getting calls from certain individuals misrepresenting themselves as members of the DOH Contact Tracing Team,” said DOH.
“They maliciously ask for personal information and extort money in the process. The public is advised and not entertain these calls. Do not put your security at risk,” it added.