DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 Feb) – Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte warned jeepney “barkers” in the city to watch out as he is regularly monitoring them from inside a car with tinted windows, seeing them how they worsen traffic and demanding amounts from drivers.
“Barking” is the practice of soliciting passengers by shouting out the destination.
“The jeepney barkers don’t know it, but I am right there where they are. I roam around to see the real situation of the city,” Duterte said in last Sunday’s “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” television show.
“If I see you being abusive on the streets, ipaligis ‘ta mo (I will have you run over),” Duterte warned.
Duterte added that he was aware that he would face the Commission on Human Rights’ ire once again for making such a public statement.
The mayor made the statement as a follow-up of his stern warning last week to 41 jeepney barkers caught in several areas of the city.
Duterte said that he just tolerated the practice because it’s an honest way of living as long as the jeepneys do not cause gridlock.
City Police Director Vicente Danao said that the barkers were apprehended after numerous complaints from citizens reaching the police office via their “Isumbong kay City Director hotlines.”
The hotline involves phone numbers, as well as a Twitter page and a Facebook page.
“You’re contributing to the congestion because you detain and you dilly-dally the movements and mobility of the vehicles,” Duterte said.
The mayor said the practice of waiting for passengers along busy intersections contribute to heavy traffic in the city.
“I don’t like it when the barkers demand their price. Another problem is when the barkers stop the drivers from leaving by blocking their vehicles,” Duterte said.
Duterte said he was also angered by reports that barkers touch women passengers to let them into the vehicles.
“That’s bad manners. Binastos ba,” he said.
The mayor, however, said he understood the situation of the barkers, saying barking is neither sanctioned nor allowed.
However, Duterte said that he would consider prohibiting “barking” if the reports of abuse continue.
“I know that you are all working hard for your day’s salary,” he said. “But if you mess around, things will change,” he warned.