Binay slams DOTr, LTFRB for lack of cash aid for PUV drivers | Inquirer News
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Binay slams DOTr, LTFRB for lack of cash aid for PUV drivers

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 04:53 AM August 16, 2021

Sen. Nancy Binay (Screen grab/Senate PRIB)

MANILA, Philippines — Whatever happened to the promised subsidies for jeepney and bus drivers?

Sen. Nancy Binay on Sunday assailed the Department of Tranportation (DOTr) and the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) for their abysmal implementation of the service contracting program to subsidize public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers whose livelihoods were severely hit by the pandemic.

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“The DOTr and the LTFRB are invisible, and have become the single biggest DOTr and the LTFRB since the start of the pandemic,” Binay said in a statement.

“It has been more than a year but the distribution of much-needed cash assistance has hardly improved. It’s disappointing at both the national and department levels that up to now our jeepney and bus drivers are not given priority,” she said.

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“Not only have they lost their livelihood on the road, but they are being made to jump through hoops to get their cash aid,” Binay said as she appealed to the transport agencies to make the claiming process easier for PUV drivers.

The Bayanihan to Recover as One Act mandates the DOTr to “negotiate partially subsidized service contracting of PUVs as a form of temporary livelihood to workers displaced by restrictions and reduced capacity of public transportation, and other forms of arrangement to ensure that livelihood in the transport sector is preserved.”

The law set aside P5.58 billion for the program, with P3 billion for jeepney drivers and the rest for other PUV drivers.

Under the program, the PUV drivers are to get an initial P4,000 subsidy for a phone to be used in monitoring output as well as weekly subsidies to be calculated based on the number of kilometers driven for free rides to commuters during the quarantine period.

A one-time incentive of P20,000 (or P25,000 for those who had joined the program by April 30) is also to be paid out, as well as a P7,000 performance bonus for drivers who log in to the system five times a week, according to an LTFRB memo.

But the transport agencies had failed to implement the program speedily and efficiently, noted Binay.

In May, the LTFRB reported that it had paid out only P322.4 million to about 15,000 drivers who either received the initial payout or the one-time incentive.

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Binay cited the Commission on Audit’s annual report that called out the LTFRB for using only 1 percent, or only P59 million, of the budget for service contracting in 2020.

Only over 29,800 drivers or half of the 60,000 targeted participants had been registered to the program as of last year, the report said. INQ

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TAGS: COVID-19 cash aid for PUV drivers, DoTr, LTFRB, Nancy Binay
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