No funds for PUV drivers under service contracting in 2022 budget
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) had requested P10 billion to fund the Service Contracting Program (SCP) for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers displaced by the pandemic for 2022 but it was not approved by the Department of Budget and Management (DBM).
This was bared Wednesday during the House hearing on the proposed budget of the DOTr.
“May nasamang service contracting sa isinumete nating proposal sa DBM. Kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, we requested for P10 billion. Unfortunately, hindi po naisama [ng DBM] sa NEP (National Expenditure Program),” Transportation Undersecretary Giovanni Lopez said.
(We included service contracting in our proposal submitted to the DBM which was around P10 billion. Unfortunately, this was not included by the DBM in the NEP.)
Under the SCP, drivers are given incentives based on the number of trips they made per week, regardless of the number of passengers they were able to transport.
Samar 1st District Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, who chairs the House committee on transportation, underscored that many PUV drivers are suffering losses, rather than earn income, due to the low number of passengers brought by mobility restrictions.
“I would strongly manifest for this committee to assist the DOTr, the LTFRB (Land Transportation and Franchising Regulatory Board) na mapag-aralan ulit ‘yung budget at bigyan natin,” Sarmiento said.
(I would strongly manifest for this committee to assist the DOTr, the LTFRB, and re-study this budget so that we can provide them with funds.)
“Kasi itong 2021 [budget] na P3 billion, maybe the most we can use this money is six months, pagkatapos wala na,” he added.
(Because the P3 billion funds for 2021 for the program, maybe the most we can use this money is six months, then it’s no more.)
The SCP was first implemented under the Bayanihan 2 measure but was suspended on July 1 this year after the validity of the law expired.
The program, however, received a P3 billion budget under the 2021 General Appropriations Act which led to the program being relaunched on September 10.
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