By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan pushes for the inclusion
of other public utility drivers as beneficiaries of the government’s
Fuel Subsidy Program, which will receive an additional P5 billion fund
At the Senate deliberations on the 2022 budget of the Department of
Transportation (DOTr) Monday, November 22, Pangilinan was also able to
secure a commitment from the department and the Land Transportation
Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) that jeepney drivers
immediately benefit from the Service Contracting Program.
“Hindi kailangang mag-consolidate ang mga drivers at operators para
makasama sa Service Contracting Program at para mapabilis ang
pag-release ng QR codes. This was clarified by DOTr and LTFRB
yesterday. Major pain point ito ng mga jeepney driver nang makausap
natin sila recently,” he said.
Pangilinan said that the government subsidy should also include
drivers of tricycle, taxi, and ride-hailing, and delivery services.
Under the current budget, only jeepney and bus drivers are the
Pangilinan said that apart from the jeepney and bus drivers, other
groups of drivers have also been affected by the Covid crisis, thus
deserving to benefit from the program.
“Only legitimate PUJ franchise grantees are covered under the [Fuel
Subsidy Program]. My understanding is that excluded would be tricycle
drivers, taxis, ride-hailing, and delivery services,” he said.
“Baka sakaling puwedeng tingnan ito at matiyak na iyong suporta ay
hindi lamang napupunta roon sa malalaki pero pati sa maliliit na
public utility vehicles,” he added.
Senator Grace Poe, Senate finance committee vice chairperson for
transportation, responded affirmatively, saying that given the
increase in DOTr’s budget, including other types of PUVs to be covered
by the program is a welcome suggestion.
Meanwhile, with the oil price hike in the previous days, Pangilinan
also pushes for providing fuel subsidies to drivers greatly affected
by the surge.
Pangilinan also took the time to laud two of DOTr’s newest projects,
the Tsuper Iskolar and the EnTSUPERneur programs.
Under the Tsuper Iskolar, free skills training, skills assessment, and
entrepreneurship training will be given to participating PUV drivers,
conductors, and their family members. The EnTSUPERneur program,
meanwhile, aims to provide these individuals a social safety net and
employment opportunities through livelihood assistance packages.
From the original P400 million budget for each of the programs,
Pangilinan asked that the figure be increased to P500 million each.
“Baka we can consider…madagdagan…dahil right now, as we all know,
hindi pa rin full capacity ang ating mga driver in terms of commuter
volume kaya mahina pa rin ang kita,” Pangilinan argued.
“Kung wala itong assistance na ito, baka hindi na makapag-aral
pansamantala ang kanilang mga anak dahil sa kulang na pagkakakitaan,”
he added. (ai/mtvn)