By Vito Barcelo | Manila Standard
Over 800,000 transport operators, drivers and transport workers still have not received the financial assistance due them from the government, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said.
Saying this has affected the mobility of people and the delivery of goods amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Marcos urged the national government to provide more assistance to transport workers.
According to a 2020 Commission on Audit report, only P59 million of the P5.58 billion fund allocated to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) was used for the service-contracting program to subsidize operators and drivers to ply their routes to serve those allowed to report for work.
A spokesperson from the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (PISTON) said recently the organization was surprised to hear that there was P5 billion earmarked for transport workers.
Piston lamented the funding should have been distributed to the workers in all modes of transportation, including buses, taxis, tricycles, and UV Express vans, who were among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Marcos added the service-contracting program should continue to supplement the reduced income of PUV drivers, with some reporting that they only earn a measly P250 for a day’s work now.
Marcos also appealed to the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases to increase the seating capacity in PUVs to allow drivers and operators to recoup their losses since passenger numbers are still weak even as the country slowly reopens.
“I hope this will be considered by the IATF to increase the passenger’ capacity of public utility jeeps (PUJs), “ he said.