J. Amado Araneta Foundation (JAAF), the social responsibility arm of Araneta City, launched #AranetaBalikPasada last Monday, July 20, to support the drivers who are bouncing back and recovering from months of being idle, and commuters who are dealing with the new normal.

Under #AranetaBalikPasada, the following steps are taken to ensure that health is of utmost consideration for everyone:

1. Temperature check is done and sanitizing alcohol is provided upon entering the Public Utility Vehicle stations

2. Provision of aisle shield and/or plastic cover in the middle of the jeepney and alternate “X” marks on the chairs

3. Implement cashless transaction for Araneta City jeepney and PUV terminals

4. Link to Grab for big item deliveries

5. Announcement of routes and services available via social media

On Monday, JAAF distributed juice bottles (donated by Ms. Theresa Vialu) for drivers and commuters at the jeepney and Beep terminals at Araneta City. The program also provides vitamins, face masks and face shield for drivers, as well as fuel rebates.

Being king of the road one moment and pushed off of it the next is a reality that Filipino jeepney drivers had to deal with due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When the strict quarantine was imposed, all modes of public transportation were not allowed to operate, leaving them no choice but to be stay put. These low-income earners who had families to feed were one of the most affected sectors of the society, with some resorting to begging when they could not find alternative sources of income.

With the government easing the quarantine imposed, the Araneta City reopened the jeepney and Beep terminals for commuters and drivers. Being a transport hub that offers transport options to and from any point in Mega Manila and beyond, Araneta City welcome the drivers back after the quarantine respite.  

Jaime is a driver of the Project 4 – Araneta City jeepney route.  Before the pandemic, he earned at least Php800 per day for an 8-hour shift.  Now, he nets just Php200 for a 10-hour drive. He and his fellow drivers are thankful just the same that they are back at work. Due to the pandemic, he can no longer afford to bring pasalubong for his kids, or even buy his daily dose of vitamins. “Ibibili na lang po ng bigas at ulam kung ano ang kikitain sa araw-araw.” Coming from Dumajug in Cebu, Jaime moved to Manila 20 years ago in hope of better things, and ended up being a driver. He is positive that things will normalize soon so that he can bring home more for his family.

If you are interested to support drivers of Araneta City like Jaime in any way under the #AranetaBalikPasada program, you can contact JAAF through its Facebook page. You may also send an email to [email protected]