Alan Cayetano, DOTr’s Bautista agree on faster distribution of trike drivers’ fuel subsidy
MANILA, Philippines — Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista has agreed to expedite the distribution of fuel subsidies to thousands of tricycle drivers nationwide who have yet to receive their share of the P2.5 billion the government had earmarked for the purpose.
This after the secretary met with Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Friday, December 9, to discuss the problem which had been raised by the senator during Bautista’s confirmation hearing before the Commission on Appointments (CA) on Thursday.
According to Cayetano, he discussed with Bautista how the subsidies could be implemented as soon as possible because tricycle drivers are reeling from high fuel prices, inflation, and the still ongoing pandemic which has lessened the number of passengers as many opt to work from home.
The senator said he pushed for the distribution to be done by the local government units (LGUs) since they have the capacity to do it and have the list of tricycle drivers in their respective areas.
He said Bautista agreed to this and confirmed that he (Bautista) also has a list of franchise holders that can help hasten the distribution of the subsidy.
It can be recalled that in the confirmation hearing on Thursday, the independent senator and CA minority leader revealed that only around 6,000 tricycle drivers had received their subsidy. This is a small fraction of the 600,000 tricycle drivers that the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) had said would receive the amount.
Bautista had said the delays were due to the unavailability of master lists of registered tricycle drivers in some LGUs.
In response, Cayetano said the various tricycle operators and drivers associations (TODAs) in the country can be tapped to help in the distribution of the subsidy to their respective members.
He noted that these transport groups are among the most organized in the country and have complete lists of their members.
Cayetano also urged Bautista to bring his expertise as a private sector executive into the DOTr in order to effect change that will benefit the transportation system and the transport sector of the country.