Reserve the front seat

Law pushed to punish able-bodied passengers sitting on PUJs’ front seat

AFTER the signboard prohibition on jeepneys, public utility drivers are now lambasted for not giving priority to persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Based on the existing law, the front seats of all public utility jeepneys (PUJs) are reserved for the PWDS.

But drivers are allowing non-PWDs to sit on the front row and let the PWDs have the back seats.

With this, a city ordinance is being pushed to always reserve the front seats of the PUJs to PWD and senior citizens, meaning that non-PWD and non-elderly can’t sit at the front seats all the time.

Bong Comiling, the officer-in-charge of the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO), said they are pushing to penalize non-PWD and non-senior citizen passengers who will be sitting on the front seat of the jeepney, aside from the violating drivers.

Comiling and his group raised the matter to Councilor Victorio Advincula Jr., who chairs the city council’s committee on social services, during a hearing last week.

He said that PWDs are being deprived from their right to be given priority in accessing public transportation of the city.

Comiling said they noted that in most cases, the front seats of the PUJ are occupied by able-bodied passengers while the PWDs and senior citizens are forced to ride at the back.

 “As PWDs, we need the front seat,” Comiling said. “That is in the law.”

 He said that in most instances, when the jeepneys are occupied, the PWDS could no longer take a ride.

 Comiling said drivers are saying that they are allowing able-bodied passenger to take a front seat because there are no PWDs or senior citizens taking the ride.

 “So we have to make it permanent that able-bodied passengers will not take the front seat,” Comiling said, noting that it will also avoid negative feed backs from the public.

 Once approved, the ordinance will direct the City Transportation and Traffic Management Office (CTTMO), in coordination with the Land Transportation Office (LTO) XI and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) XI to conduct regular inspections on the PUJs for the matter.