16,000 displaced drivers get gov’t contracts
MANILA, Philippines — Around 16,000 drivers of public utility vehicles (PUV) have been hired by the government as part of its relief package for those displaced by the pandemic, four months since the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) launched its P5.58-billion service contracting program.
According to the LTFRB, the number accounted for PUV drivers who enlisted in the program and had gone through an orientation.
The program includes traditional and modern passenger jeepneys and buses that have been allowed to ply reopened routes in areas under general community quarantine like Metro Manila and nearby provinces, as well as passenger buses in Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.
But jeepney drivers who have yet to get permission from the LTFRB to resume their routes or apply for the consolidation of their fleets cannot participate.
The LTFRB said it had released P3.06 million in initial subsidies for 765 drivers of passenger jeepneys and buses in the National Capital Region, as well as Ilocos, Western Visayas, Central Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula and Northern Mindanao regions. Each of them received a direct cash subsidy of P4,000.Members of the Alliance of Concerned Transport Organizations, however, held a rally in front of the LTFRB office in Quezon City earlier this week to call for the full reopening of old transport routes and condemn the looming jeepney phaseout.
It was the first protest held by the transport group since the LTFRB extended the deadline for the fleet consolidation of old PUV units late last year.
Fleet consolidation would require traditional jeepney drivers to surrender their franchises and agree to the new scheme.
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