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6 jeepney drivers fought for their rights—now they’re in jail


Update (06/08/20): The six arrested drivers have posted bail this Jun. 8. According to Piston, they are currently waiting for the drivers’ PNP clearance and release order.

Six jeepney drivers were arrested in Caloocan last Jun. 2 for fighting for their livelihoods. In an effort to raise awareness, these drivers held a protest against the government’s current jeepney ban. Most of them were senior citizens, which includes 72-year-old jeepney driver Elmer Cordero.

These jeepney drivers were charged with the following: mass gathering, resistance and disobedience to social distancing. But according to transport group Piston, the protestors strictly practiced physical distancing and wore face masks.

“Due to the fact that it was clear that they practiced social distancing, it is obvious that they were arrested for trumped-up charges,” says Piston in their statement. According to Inquirer’s report, the Caloocan City Police invited the six to their station then to City Hall for the filing of charges. “If it was done forcefully, then that could be considered illegal detention,” says George San Mateo, Piston national president.

San Mateo explained how they protested due to the loss of their jobs. Unfortunately, these drivers weren’t given any cash assistance from the government as well. This has been their lives throughout the nearly three-month lockdown.

Piston is currently holding a donation drive. In their pubmat, they wrote: “Ginutom, kinulong at tinanggalan ng karapatang mabuhay.” In their statement, the transport group says, “Tumatanggap ang Piston ng anumang tulong at suporta para sa pamilya ng mga tsuper na halos tatlong buwan nang pinagbabawalang bumiyahe.”

Jeepney drivers are an integral part of Filipino life. Right before the new normal kicked in, they were a part of our day-to-day fight against traffic. Now, they need you to take them to safety.

Check out how you can help below:

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