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Fuel subsidy mulled for PUVs allowed to operate

 

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

The government may soon give out fuel subsidies for the public utility vehicles (PUVs) that are allowed to operate during the general community quarantine (GCQ).

(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

(JANSEN ROMERO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Department of Transportation (DOTr) Assistant Secretary Mark Richmund de Leon bared on Monday, May 11, that the Interagency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease (IATF) has adopted the DOTr’s proposed P8.8-billion fuel subsidy program for PUV operators and drivers who were affected by the restrictions imposed by the government to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

“As of the latest feedback…the task force has already adopted that proposal of DOTr, so we will just follow up this measure with the [IATF] kung paano nong mechanics ng pagdownload ng pera (on the mechanics in downloading the funds) for that measure,” De Leon said during the hybrid hearing of the Senate committee on public services on the resumption of public transportation under the eased lockdown rules.

The DOTr earlier suggested to the IATF the grant of fuel subsidy amounting to 30 percent of the daily consumption of bus operations and jeepney drivers to commensurate for the income that they would be losing, since they would only be allowed to operate at reduced capacity.

DOTr Assistant Secretary Steve Pastor said this would equate to some P1,200 for bus units (at 36 liters); P360 for jeepneys (at 12 liters); and would total to about P8.8 billion for three months.

The program will cover PUV operators and drivers nationwide, Pastor said.

Aside from the fuel subsidy, De Leon said the IATF also approved their proposal to restructure the existing loans ng transport operators, which include, among others, the deferment of the amortization.

“I think some of the government financial institutions such as Land Bank [of the Philippines] and DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) have already granted this proposal of DOTr and also they are mandated under the Bayanihan Act,” he said in mixed English and Filipino.

The DOTr, he said, had also proposed to ease the terms for the loans that will be provided to PUV operators and drivers to ease their burden during the GCQ period.

The same proposals were also submitted to Congress.

Meanwhile, De Leon said the DOTr is set to present to the IATF its proposal for fixed daily salaries for PUV drivers.

“I-kontrata na po natin ‘yong PUVs natin, like buses and jeepneys para di na nila poproblemahin yung kanilang byahe (Our PUVs should operate on a contract basis so they would no longer have to be concerned about their trips),” he said.

“In that way, me-ensure po natin na ‘yong compliance nila sa social distancing dahil nabayaran na natin ‘yong kanilang pasada at ‘di na sila maghahabol ng kanilang kita. Di na nila pupunuin yong kanilang sasakyan (In that way, we will be ensure their compliance with social distancing measures because we have already paid for their trips, and they will not be concerned about their income. They will no longer load their vehicles in full capacity),” he explained.

He admitted that this will require a bigger amount of budget from the government.

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) earlier issued guidelines for the resumption of mass transportation in areas under GCQ. This include allowing PUVs to operate at reduced capacity and in compliance with health safety measures, such as physical distancing and the mandatory use of face masks by drivers and passengers.

De Leon said those who wish to operate shall secure a special permit from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

President Duterte earlier extended until May 15 the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and other COVID-19 high-risk areas.#


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/05/12/fuel-subsidy-mulled-for-puvs-allowed-to-operate/)

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