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EXPIRING ON JUNE 30

Bayanihan 2 extension sought

‘AYUDA’ LINE Residents queue to receive their cash aid under the government’s social amelioration program. —RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — The Move As One Coalition on Thursday formally asked Senate President Vicente Sotto III to extend anew the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, or Bayanihan 2, before it expires on June 30 and to call for a special session to pass Bayanihan 3, given the “public transport crisis made worse by the pandemic.”

In a letter to Sotto and other senators, the group of sustainable mobility advocates noted how the public transport crisis—marked by limited transport options and costlier commute—has made it harder for more than 72 percent of Filipino adults to get to work.

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The Department of Transportation (DOTr) received P9.5 billion in additional funds from Bayanihan 2 passed by Congress last year to assist thousands of displaced transport workers.

The funds include the P5.58-billion budget for service contracting that was being implemented by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

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But the Move As One Coalition told Sotto that the LTFRB had disbursed only P738.3 million, or less than 14 percent, of this budget as of June 7, with less than three weeks before the law expires.

“If Bayanihan 2 is not extended, P4.8 billion due to our transport workers, who fought hard for the program, will be wasted. Without service contracts, many public transport operations will be rendered financially unviable and will cease operations,” the group told Sotto in their letter.

Under Section 14 of the Bayanihan 3 bill, the DOTr is directed to “continue coordinating the accelerated distribution of the remaining interventions” under Bayanihan 2 to driver-­beneficiaries and transport workers, and to “ensure the full utilization of the said subsidy prior to the expiration of the term provided for the same.”

The coalition said extending the validity of Bayanihan 2 would also address implementation issues in service contracting that transport workers have experienced so far. INQ

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TAGS: Bayanihan 2, Bayanihan 3, DoTr, Harry Roque coronavirus philippines, Senate
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