PUV drivers to get aid in Bayanihan 2, says Poe

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe said displaced public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers rendered hungry and homeless by the COVID-19 lockdown will be among those given priority for assistance with a P5.58 billion funding under the Bayanihan 2 bill, which also assured that there will be no jeepney phaseout during the pandemic.

PUV drivers to get aid in Bayanihan 2, says Poe

The bill, ratified on Thursday, has incorporated provisions for loan facility, fuel vouchers, facilitation of contracting of PUVs as government service vehicles, among others.

"We agreed to provide the much-needed support to displaced workers in the transport sector, particularly when it comes to contracting vehicles by the government. So, that will be a big portion of the funding," Poe said.

The P5.58 billion fund will be used to provide temporary livelihood to displaced workers in the industry through service contracting, regardless of quarantine levels, of PUVs. Of the amount, P3 billion has been set aside for jeepney drivers and P2.58 billion for other PUV drivers.

A separate P1.31 billion will be used to develop accessible sidewalks and protected bicycle lanes, procure bicycles and safety-related equipment for bicycle distribution, sharing and lending program.

The Bayanihan bill has also allocated P17.97 billion to the Land Bank of the Philippines and P5.5 billion to the Development Bank of the Philippines that the transport sector may tap as loan facilities through the Department of Transportation.

And amid the government's push for modernization, Poe reiterated that traditional jeepneys will not be scrapped during the pandemic.

"Marami sa ating mga kababayan ang walang hanapbuhay at kailangan natin ng transportasyon. Bago pa nga itong pandemyang ito ay kulang na 'yung masasakyan ng ating mga kababayan, so ang aming panukala ay wala munang phaseout ng mga traditional jeep natin basta lamang ang importante ang mga ito ay roadworthy—ibig sabihin ligtas, tapos hindi naman smoke-belcher ang mga jeep na 'yun," she said.

Last year, Poe, who heads the public services committee, filed Senate Bill 867 to ensure a "just and humane PUV modernization program" by making available affordable loans to jeepney drivers and cash subsidies to those who will not be able to comply with the new requirements.

The senator also pointed out that several groups are saying that traditional jeepneys, which have no airconditioning, may be safer for public transportation as studies suggest that air conditioners may contribute to the spread of the disease.

"There are others who are saying that it's safer to ride a jeep kasi open air as opposed sa mga iba na contained talaga 'yung recycled air ang hinihinga nila," she said.

Poe rued that of the 400,000 beneficiaries from the PUV drivers, only around 10 percent have received aid from the government.

"That's why you see a lot of them begging in the streets; maraming namamalimos kasi nga hindi nakakarating ang tulong sa kanila," she said.

"Sa listahan ng LTFRB (Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board) na isinusumite sa DSWD (Department of Social Welfare and Development) ay hindi agarang nako-crosscheck, so nilulunod na naman sa bureaucracy ng gobyerno," she added.

READ: Qualified PUV drivers included in SAP – DSWD

Poe has time and again pushed for the return of the traditional jeepneys on the road, with strict adherence to health and safety protocols to avoid the spread of the virus.

She stressed that drivers are desperate to earn and the public badly need augmentation of public transportation to support their mobility as the economy slowly gets back on its feet.

— The Summit Express


Add a comment here
  1. Yong po bang nkakuha nun una sa mwga drivers meron din pangalawa kc grve ang tumal ng taxi ngayon

  2. Aku po driver ng jeep hnfi pa po aku nkkakuha

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