"Queen of The Road" : Theresa Centeno

July 6 2020 

Sachi Lozano

“Sikat na sikat kami doon kasi babae nga ang driver so special na special po kami doon, lagi kami iniinterview (We’re really famous because we are lady drivers and that makes us special. We’re always being interviewed)."

Known as “Reyna ng Kalsada (Queen of The Road)," Theresa Centeno-- “Ate Terre” is one of the first female electric jeepney (e-jeepney) drivers.

Her courage and desire to challenge the status quo has inspired many women to follow her lead and join her in driving e-jeepneys around the city.

Ate Terre was once a lady guard earning 200php a day. One day, a friend called looking for a lady driver for their electric jeepney company. She willingly gave it a try as she has always known how to drive. Today, she is the Head of Operations in their company’s Makati branch. 

 

Ate Terre is a mother of 5, and though some of her kids are employed she still chooses to work because she truly loves her job. She enjoys driving the e-jeepney because in her words, “wala siyang ingay, hindi siya mausok, at environmentally friendly talaga siya kaya maraming gustong sumakay (it’s not noisy, nor does it produce smoke, and it’s environmentally friendly, that's why a lot of people want to ride it.)”  

 

Additionally Ate Terre told The Adversity Archive that what’s great about the way their company is run is that their drivers are not subject to the boundary system and they don’t need to meet a quota. They don’t need to compete with one another for passengers because regardless of the number of passengers they transport, they will get paid minimum wage for an 8 hour day.

Unfortunately, the unexpected but now infamous, COVID-19 ceased all operations when the Enhanced Community Quarantine was announced. This greatly affected all jeepney drivers, and Ate Terre and her company were not spared. Fortunately, when alarming reports of the outbreak began to build up and rumors of tighter restrictions were circulating, Ate Terre quickly decided to invest the last salary she received into putting up a sari-sari store (little store). 

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“Maswerte lang po kami na nakapaghanda kami ng kaunti. Yung 3 months po kasi [na walang suweldo] ay hindi biro. (Luckily, we were able to prepare because 3 months [without pay] is no joke!)”

 

 

 

 

The Adversity Archive acknowledges the hardship that this pandemic has brought on Ate Terre and all jeepney drivers alike, however we would also like to proudly congratulate Ate Terre on her brilliant foresight and ability to think fast on her feet. The Adversity Archive looks forward to seeing her and her fellow jeepney drivers back on the road, but for now, we would like to celebrate the resilience she and her family have exhibited during this trying time. 

 

"Reyna ng Kalsada" : Theresa Centeno

“Sikat na sikat kami doon kasi babae nga ang driver so special na special po kami doon, lagi kami iniinterview" 

ika-6 ng Hulyo

Sachi Lozano

Unang nakilala si Theresa Centeno--"Ate Terre" bilang “Reyna ng Kalsada” noong taong 2016, dahil isa siya sa mga naunang lady drivers ng electric jeepney.  Dala ng kanyang pagnanais na hamunin ang status quo, naglakas loob si Ate Terre na mag-apply bilang lady driver.  Hindi niya inakala na ang hakbang na ito magsisilbing inspirasyon para sa ibang mga babae na mag-aral ring magmaneho  ng electric jeepney. Lady guard si Ate Terre noong magsimulang magtrabaho at kumikita siya ng 200php sa isang araw na pagtatrabaho ng walong oras.  Kaya naman ng naikuwento sa kanya ng isang kaibigan na naghahanap silang lady driver, kusang loob siya sumubok na magmaneho ng electric jeepney. Ngayon, nagtratrabaho siya bilang isang “Head of Operations” sa kanilang branch sa Makati. 

May limang anak si Ate Terre at malalaki na sila ngayon, pero kahit na may mga trabaho na ang ilan sa kanila, pinili pa rin ni Ate Terre na magtrabaho dahil mahal niya ang kanyang trabaho at masaya siya sa kanyang ginagawa.   Nag-eenjoy siya sa pagmamaneho ng e-jeepney, dahil ayon sa kanya, “wala [itong] ingay, hindi [ito] mausok, at environmentally friendly talaga siya kaya maraming gustong sumakay.” 
 

Ipinagmalaki rin ni Ate Terre sa The Adversity Archive ang magandang pamamalakad ng kanilang kumpanya kung saan ang mga drivers nila ay hindi napapailalim sa boundary system at wala rin silang “quota.”  Hindi sila nag-aagawan ng pasahero dahil kahit na ilan ang pasahero na iyong isinakay, bayad ka pa rin ng “minimum wage” kada araw na magtrabaho ka (ng walong oras) Sa kasamaang-palad, itong di-inaasahan at napakatinding COVID-19 ay dumating at natigil ang operasyon ng kumpanya nang magdeklara ang pamahalaan ng Enhanced Community Quarantine. (ECQ).
Naapektuhan lahat ng jeepney drivers sa Metro Manila, kasama dito si Ate Terre at ang kanyang mga katrabaho. Habang lumalala ang pagkalat ng COVID-19 at nabalita na maghihigpit ang pamahalaan, kaagad nagdesisyon si Ate Terre na ilaan ang kanyang huling sahod na natanggap para magbukas ng maliit na sari-sari store. Nakatulong ito kahit paano noong panahon ng “lockdown.”

 

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Kinikilala ng The Adversity Archive ang paghihirap at pagsubok na idinulot ng pandemyang ito kay Ate Terre at sa lahat ng mga jeepney drivers.  Sa harap ng matinding pagsubok na ito, taimtim naming binabati at ipinagdidiwang ang maiging pag-intindi ni Ate Terre sa sitwasyon na kanyang hinaharap noong mga panahon na iyon at saludo kami sa abilidad niyang makaisip pang mamuhunan sa isang negosyo sa panahon ng krisis. 

Inaasahan ng The Adversity Archive na sa lalong madaling panahon ay makita na muli sila Ate Terre at ang mga kapwa niyang jeepney drivers na makabalik na sa pamamasada, pero ngayon habang kami ay naghihintay, nais naming ipagdiwang ang katatagan ng loob na ipinakita ni Ate Terre at ng kanyang pamilya sa mga panahong ito. 
 

“Maswerte lang po kami na nakapaghanda kami ng kaunti. Yung 3 months po kasi [na walang suweldo] ay hindi biro!”