DAVAO CITY – A “dispatcher”, commonly known as barker, can earn a minimum of P200 after a few hours of calling passengers to ride public utility jeepneys or cabs.

Jerry Lajer, 37, works as a dispatcher along the highway in Brgy. Mintal. Lajer said he earns a minimum of P200 even on weekends, which is considered as “hinay nga adlaw” when there are lesser passengers.  While the maximum amount he earns is P300.

In an interview with Davao Today on Monday morning, Lajer was bringing a red plastic bag with 3 kilos of rice which he said he bought from his earnings.

“Kani atoa sakto lang nga pamugas gyud (We do this to buy food for a living),” Lajer, who is a father of two kids, a 5-year old and a 3-year old, said.

Lajer said he would start his work at around 7:00 am and end at 10:00 am. He explained that they do not do “dispatching” the whole day because they have to “give chance to others” who also want to earn.

Lajer said there are around eight of them who take turns to get passengers for a PUJ in the area of Mintal corner Elenita Heights.

“Ginabahin-bahin lang namo ang oras para makapamugas pud ang uban (We take turns so that others can also earn),” he said adding that there are dispatchers even on wee hours as PUJs ply the road for 24 hours daily.

After his work as a dispatcher, Lajer would then drive his single motor as a “habal-habal” driver and earn an additional of P100 to buy their viand.

He said he is lucky enough to earn P100 because there are also a lot of drivers who also take passengers.

“Pag maka-P100 na ko nga limpyo mouli na ko kay igo na man na pang-sud-an (After I earn P100 pesos net of income, I stop driving because that is enough to buy our viand),” Lajer said.

Mayor’s warning

PUJ dispatchers earned the ire of Mayor Rodrigo Duterte here after taxi drivers reportedly complained of barkers in malls who are demanding for P5 fixed amount even though they did not help in getting passengers. The drivers allegedly complained that the barkers would get angry at them if they do not give the said amount.

Duterte said the complaint is a recurring issue as it is the “third time” he will issue the warning.

“Giingnan ta mo kung pila ray ihatag sa inyo kay wa moy hago, wa mo magbayad og gasoline, wa pud mo magpalit og spare parts. Kanang inyo pamugas, nakasabot ko (I already told you to receive what the drivers give to you because you do not pay for the gasoline, you do not buy spare parts. I understand that what you do is for a living),” Duterte said during his Sunday TV program, Gikan sa Masa, Para sa Masa.

“Giingnan ta mo ayaw mo panghasi kay dili inyo ang dalan, wala moy katungod diha nga mag-istambay, magsyagit syagit, unya sigeg awhag og pasahero (I already told you not to harass (drivers) because you do not own the road, you do not have a right to stay there, to shout and get passengers),” Duterte said adding that he already talked to barkers a number of times.

Duterte said if he hears another complaint against the barkers in the city, arrests will follow. He said barkers could be charged with extortion or grave coercion.

No choice

However, Lajer said at times there are also drivers who do not give money and it’s “okay” with them.

“Kung pila lang gyud ang ihatag nila dawaton namo (Whatever amount they give, we take it),” Lajer said adding that there is no standard rate for barkers in their post.

Lajer said if the mayor decides to arrests barkers, they cannot do anything. But they appeal to others not to abuse drivers.

All in a day’s work

Angelita Jumila, 39 is a wife of a barker.  She said her husband Danny, 45, would give her P250 per day which is the minimum amount he earns for getting passengers for taxis parked along Barangay Mintal corner Elenita Heights.

Angelita, who grew up in Panabo, said they only tried their luck here and ended up selling candies, biscuits and coffee along the highway, while her husband became a barker for cabs.

“Naa may bantay gyud diri sa mga taxi, ang akong bana kay nisingit-singit ra, nihangyo mao to nakasugod siya (There was an original barker for taxis here. My husband only asked if he could also dispatch cabs and the man agreed, that was how he started.),” Angelita said.

Angelita’s husband would start his work at 9:00 am and stop at 1:00 pm when the “original” barker arrives.

Angelita said  the minimum tip given by a taxi driver is P5 and the maximum is P10.

Angelita who earns a minimum of P150 per day in her stall said she and her husband hope to get a regular job with “benefits like SSS and Philhealth.”

“But for now, we will make do with what we earn daily,” she said. (davaotoday.com)

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