Tigil-pasada jeepney drivers find income making customized computer tables

by Justine Punzalan
Jul 23, 2020
Seafarer Rico Unop (not in photo) lost his job because of the pandemic. Together with eight tigil-pasada jeepney drivers, he started an online business selling customized computer tables.
PHOTO/S: RICO UNOP

Jeepney drivers have yet to return to the streets of Metro Manila.

This is because of the ongoing ban on public utility vehicles (PUVs) brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among those affected is driver Federico Quitlong, who has not been able to send a single peso back to his family in Bataan since the quarantine started.

"Mahirap po. Walang kita, walang pera...

"Kumusta daw ako, sabi ko, 'E, wala akong pinagkakakitaan kasi bawal daw lumabas ang senior.

"Sabi ko, pasensiya na kayo at wala akong maipapadala kahit na magkano," he said in an interview with TV Patrol on July 22, 2020.

Understanding their struggles, Rico Unop decided to gather the jeepney drivers in Sisa Street, Sampaloc, Manila to start an online business.

Rico, who is Federico's neighbor, is a seafarer who also lost his job because of the pandemic.

Together with Federico and seven other jeepney drivers, Rico is now making computer tables that they initially intended to sell to homeschooling kids.

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"Naisipan ko lang kasi ngayong pandemic na paano kung magkaroon na lang ng online schooling," he told TV Patrol.

The tables, he said, would be marketable since "kakailanganin ng estudyante."

He continued, "Nagsimula lang kami sa isang table, then iyong naiipon namin, binili namin ng gamit.

"Nakakabenta kami paisa-isa.

"Iyon na lang iyong pinaghahatian na lang namin."

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They began receiving more orders when Rico posted about their business on several Facebook groups.

"Ito lang po iyong way na makaahon sa oras ng pandemic, para kami ay may pagkakitaan sa malinis na paraan. Hindi kami nanlilimos o nanghihingi sa mga tao," he concluded.

One table costs PHP3,700 and comes with a customized design.

It measures 60 centimeters in width, 120 centimeters in length, and 80 centimeters in height.

Here are some of the tables they have produced so far:

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To place an order, send a message on Rico Unop's Facebook page here.

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Seafarer Rico Unop (not in photo) lost his job because of the pandemic. Together with eight tigil-pasada jeepney drivers, he started an online business selling customized computer tables.
PHOTO/S: RICO UNOP
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