Duterte warns jeepney barkers from extorting drivers

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 31 March) – Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte has issued a warning to passenger jeepney barkers from extorting drivers.

At his weekly “Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa” television program Sunday, Duterte threatened to stop barkers from their activities if he hears another complaint from a passenger or aggrieved driver.

Duterte made the comment after hearing reports that there were barkers demanding fixed amounts from drivers simply for lining up at a mall to look for passengers. The barkers reportedly demand amounts of P5 to P10 per taxi.

Barkers are persons who call the attention of passengers looking for passenger jeepneys and taxicabs.

Although Duterte said the practice did not violate any law, he said he draws the line with barkers who demanded their price. “You have no right to be working in the streets,” Duterte said, addressing the barkers. “Kapila na ta mo gipatawag? Halos bukbukon ta mo kay sige mo ug panghikap sa mga babae.” (How many times have I called on you? I almost wanted to hit you because you take advantage of the women.”)

Duterte said the issue has been a recurring complaint among commuters. “If I hear another complaint, there will come a time that I will prohibit all of you from working and arrest you,” he warned.

He added that abusive barkers extorting from drivers could be punished. “Ayaw mo panghatag problema sa akoa kay ako tigulang na ko. Warning ko na. Naa pa gani koy madungog sa sunod, dakop na ta,” he said. (Don’t give more problems because I’m already old. I’m warning you. If I hear another complaint, I’ll have you arrested.)

“You are just there to disturb the public peace, unya sige mog pangwarta (and you keep on making money),” he said.

In February last year, Duterte and the Davao City Police Office rounded up 45 jeepney barkers from different routes and scared them away.

Unsa man, ipaligis ta mo o maminaw na mo?” (Would you rather listen, or I’ll have you run over?) Duterte was quoted as telling the barkers.

The mayor said he has heard too many complaints about barkers allegedly harassing passengers, including women who get physically tugged or slightly pushed into the jeeps by the barkers.