The Cebu City Councilor who sidelines as ride-hailing driver

By: Delta Dyrecka Letigio - CDN Digital | December 22,2019 - 08:30 AM

Cebu City Councilor David Tumulak has chosen to become a ride-hailing driver as he fulfills his duties as a public servant. | CDND PHOTO /  Delta Letigio

CEBU CITY, Philippines — Traffic jam outside the CDN Digital office was horrible on a Friday afternoon, December 20, and one of the building’s employees said she was heading to SM Seaside City Cebu for an errand.

No ride-hailing apps accepted the request for vehicle except for one with a driver whose picture looked very familiar.

The app says the driver has a blue Suzuki Vitara and the fare is P200.

The driver pulled over the driveway of the CDN building in Barangay Mabolo 15 minutes later.

As his first passenger entered the vehicle, the driver looked away. When the second passenger came, this reporter who covers the Cebu City Hall beat, the driver lets out a laugh.

“Nakakita man mo sa akong picture sa app no?” he says.

(You saw my picture on the ride-hailing app, right?)

Behind the wheels of the car is Cebu City Councilor David “Dave” Tumulak, who earlier told City Hall reporters that he has applied to be driver for a ride-hailing app.

That Friday afternoon, Tumulak says he just came from M.J Cuenco Avenue after a meeting.

There is no more work for the day at his office at the Cebu City Hall so he decided to pick up passengers.

That was when he received the request for a vehicle from the CDN Digital employee.

‘Driver for hire’

While he jokes about his government salary to be insufficient to pay for gas, Tumulak turned serious when asked why he decided to become a driver.

“Sayang kaayo ang oras mag-drive from one meeting to the next. Daghan kaayong pasahero mag-atang. (Hours are wasted driving in getting from one meeting to the other) It is a waste of time and gasoline to drive alone. So may pa mag-driver ko aron makabayad ko sa gas (So I decided to become a driver so my earnings can pay for gas),” he tells CDN Digital.

Tumulak reveals that he has been part of the ride-hailing app for two weeks.

He applied in early December 2019 and was approved after two days.

On Thursday, December 19, he earned P1,700, which is enough to have his tank filled with gasoline.

And he is not even a full-time driver.

His main mission in doing in being a driver is related to his role as a public servant.

He enjoys driving around the city which also gives him the first-hand experience to see what is really happening on the road.

It gives him the platform to better understand the plight of the drivers, whose livelihood are affected by the city’s worsening traffic situation.

In these drives, he personally witnesses the experiences of motorists, pedestrians and commuters.

Being a driver is his way of getting information, which he utilizes in formulating ordinances or legislations that will help the city government serve its constituents better.

WATCH: David Tumulak answers questions from CDN Digital on the road 

WATCH: Dave Tumulak, the driver

We booked a ride from the #CDNDigital newsroom to SM Seaside City Cebu and we were surprised to have Cebu City Councilor David "Dave" Tumulak as our driver. Listen as Councilor Tumulak shares his learnings on the road and why he decided to also serve the community by being a driver. | Cris Evert Lato-Ruffolo

Posted by CDN Digital on Friday, December 20, 2019


“Kun driver diay ka ba, madunggan man diay nimo tanan bisan og naa sila sa likod,” he shares with an amused voice.

(When you are a driver, you can hear everything that your passengers talk about even when they are seated at the back.)

He has since learned informative lessons and hilarious realities from his passengers.

“Naay pasahero nga sabaan, medyo hugawan, sigeg panglibak, sigeg pagwapa,” says Tumulak.

(There are passengers who are talkative, who are quite messy, who likes to gossip, or who uses the time on the road to put on make-up.)

Some passengers have recognized him and when it happens, he gladly converses with them.

Road issues 

That Friday, around 4 p.m. on the way to SM Seaside City Cebu, Tumulak pointed out that trucks were plying Sergio Osmeña Road on North Reclamation Area when there is an existing truck ban around that time.

He points out the need to enforce measures such as the truck ban to make sure that efficient flow of traffic is observed with the expected holiday rush this month, December 2019.

As the car moved forward to its destination, Tumulak noticed a light traffic situation at the South Road Properties (SRP) tunnel that afternoon while CDN Digital was on board his car.

There were sacks, which might have fallen from a delivery truck, that were left unattended on the road.

To resolve the situation, he called an official from the Cebu City Transportation Office in removing the sacks.

He says this is one of the advantages of being a councilor-driver.

Sitting as the Cebu City Council’s chairperson for the committee on disaster risk reduction and management, Tumulak is also able to conduct his own research that he can report to the body.

He can easily respond to any incident while he is on transit.

He gets to converse with his passengers, people from all walks of life, on the issues and challenges they face.

As he receives the P200 payment for the drive, Tumulak showed off the money to this reporter.

“Makapa-gas nako!” he says sounding victorious from a recent feat.

(I can fill up my gas tank.)

For Tumulak, being a driver is no different than being a councilor.

Just like a councilor, a driver provides service to the public with the ultimate goal of providing convenience to passengers, a small but significant contribution to make their lives better. / dbs & celr

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TAGS: Cebu City hall, councilor, David Tumulak, driver, Suzuki Vitara

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