Jeepney drivers who have been jobless due to the active community quarantines could soon be recruited as contact tracers for Covid-19, Palace spokesman Harry Roque said Wednesday.

“Naghahanap na ho tayo ng alternatibong mga kabuhayan sa kanila. Mayroong suhestiyon dati na ilan sa kanila ay kukuning contact tracers dahil mangangailangan tayo ng contact tracers,” Roque said in a DZMM interview.

Transport group Piston previously said 500,000 jeepney drivers and 200,000 jeepney operators were affected by the lockdown.

Roque said in ANC’s “Headstart” that only about 30,000 contact tracers are employed so far, 90,000 behind the target number.

Modern jeepneys with social distancing protocols in place are to be deployed in the coming days, but the decision to restart the jeepney industry as a whole is a “tough decision.”

“Imposible po talaga ang distancing kapag harapan ang pasahero sa mga jeep,” Roque said.

Public utility buses, modern jeepneys and UV express vehicles will be allowed to operate on June 22 to 30, under the second phase of the gradual public transport resumption. (John Ezekiel J. Hirro)