P802.8M cash aid delivered to operators of over 123,000 PUVs – LTFRB
MANILA, Philippines — A total of P802.8 million worth of cash aid has already been distributed to operators of 123,517 public utility vehicles (PUVs) nationwide, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said Friday.
LTFRB explained in a statement that the subsidy was meant to assist public transport operators and drivers badly affected by the lockdowns and travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
LTFRB Chairperson Martin Delgra said that the P802.8 million disbursements as of Thursday, December 3, represent 87.52 percent of the P1.158 billion allocated to the direct cash subsidy program under Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act of 2020.
“Tuluy-tuloy lang po ang pamimigay ng subsidiya sa mga PUV operators na lubhang apektado ang kabuhayan ng kasalukuyang pandemya. Patunay po ito sa nais ng pamahalaan na sila ay tulungang makabangon,” Delgra said.
(We are continuously providing subsidies to PUV operators whose livelihoods were severely affected by the ongoing pandemic. This is a testament to the government’s desire to help them recover.)
“Hindi po sila pababayaan habang dumaranas tayong lahat ng pandemya,” he added.
(They would not be neglected while we all experience the harsh effects of the pandemic.)
Recipients of the cash aid include operators of public buses, jeepneys, and other utility vehicles. Under the said program, operators would receive P6,500 per PUV under their franchise.
The LTFRB chief added that there are more funds to be distributed to operators of over 17,000 PUVs.
After the lockdowns were enforced in Luzon and other areas in mid-March, public transportation was immediately halted, and some jeepneys were only allowed to resume operations within the third quarter of 2020.
Local think-tank Ibon Foundation claimed that the lockdowns from March to June had left the average jeepney driver without P78,000 worth of possible earnings.
Jeepneys were among the last public transportation modes allowed to operate again amid the pandemic, as government officials believed that the seating position in jeepneys could make commuters more prone to coronavirus transmission.
However, Ibon refuted these claims by saying that air-conditioned public vehicles are more susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 spread due to the lack of proper ventilation.
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