DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The re-imposition of the city-wide curfew as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected the income of public transport drivers and market vendors, a labor group says.
In their statement, the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) Southern Mindanao re-echoed sentiments from drivers and vendors who lost more income after City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio released Executive Order 55 that re-imposed the curfew starting October 15 until December 31 this year.
Mayor Duterte-Caprio explained that bringing back the curfew is a necessity to curb residents from engaging in after-work “non-essential” activities that could spread the virus.
The latest COVID-19 report from the Department of Health Davao Region showed active cases in Davao City is now close to breaching the one-thousand mark with 987 active cases as of October 31.
But KMU Southern Mindanao spokesperson PJ Dizon said the curfew is “haphazard and anti-people” as it has hit the poor the hardest.
The group mentioned that because of the curfew, a jeepney driver earns only around P200 to P300 with less passengers. While a taxi driver’s previous take home pay of P300 to 500 a day is now cut into half, and he still is obliged to pay the daily rental for his unit averaging P1,000 a day.
KMU-SMR also received complaints from some market vendors that they are suffering from deficits in sales and are forced to borrow from lenders.
“Mayor Sara’s approach is insufficient, if not out of sight, in imposing the curfew to 7pm in a view to lessen the contraction. She never considered and completely belittled its economic impact to the majority of Dabawenyos. Many have lost or diminished their income because of the order,” Dizon said.
“In the end, working people bear the brunt of her capriciousness. While we recognize that the local government offered aid to the affected sectors, their efforts weren’t enough,” Dizon added.
KMU-SMR earlier complained that most of the 4,000 jeepney drivers in the city had not availed of the city government’s TUPAD program during the enhanced community quarantine during summer and only a few received a meager P1,980 in that period.
Dizon said imposing a curfew is not enough solution to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the city and called for mass testing and robust contact tracing as the “strongest steps” that the city government should do to contain the virus. (davaotoday.com)