Faster assistance programs for PUV drivers urged


By Rose de la Cruz


Two House assistant majority leaders urged government agencies, on the first day of the enforcement campaign for public transport modernization program to speed up approval of regulations on the use of public funds for public utility vehicle drivers.


1-PACMAN Party-list Representative Michael Romero urged the Department of Transportation, the Development Bank of the Philippines and Land Bank of the Philippines to fast-track their approval of the project mechanics and components on the use of the PUV Modernization Project funds from the 2018 budgets of the two state banks.


Similarly, Bagong Henerasyon Party-list Representative Bernadette Herrera-Dy asked the Department of Social Welfare and Development and Land Bank to expedite the promulgation of their guidelines for the 2018 GAA tax reform cash transfer subsidy. She has proposed that PUV drivers be included among the beneficiaries of the TRAIN (or tax reform for acceleration and inclusion) subsidy and the 4Ps conditional cash transfer program.


Landbank and DBP have P1.133 billion each in their respective budgets for the PUV modernization program loans to PUV operators.


Romero said the public needs to know the importance of both banks to the lives of the poor PUV operators and drivers and that "Congress is waiting for the project mechanics and details for the loan program. The 2018 budget has a special provision requiring these."


Herrera-Dy proposed a "refocusing" of the CCT for drivers to differentiate it from the old Pantawid Pasada program. 


"Instead of the cash transfer being for fuel purchases, the new CCT for PUV drivers will be more similar to the 4Ps of the DSWD. It will enable them to purchase food items for drivers’ families, send to and keep their young children studying in elementary and high school, and get vaccines and medicines," she said.


She added that "the new CCT program’s first phase should cover all PUV drivers, whether or not the PUV they drive has an LTFRB franchise or not. The sins of the PUV operator must not be the sin of the PUV driver."


"If this expanded CCT is successful, a future phase of the new CCT for drivers can include tricycle and pedicab drivers," she added.


Unlike the current 4Ps wherein the contact person of the DSWD are the mothers, Herrera-Dy is proposing that DSWD should trust and "help the impoverished fathers, some of whom are single parents or breadwinners supporting siblings, children and elderly parents."


"To instill responsibility and accountability, the new CCT for PUV drivers, ATM cards cannot be used for any purchases of alcoholic beverages, cigarettes, and illegal drugs. Those ATM cards cannot be pawned or used as collateral in any way and doing so will mean automatic removal from the CCT program," she said.


"A strict condition for inclusion in the CCT for PUV drivers must be staying drug-free, alcohol-free, and gambling-free," Herrera-Dy stressed.


She identified the P24.488 billion in the Landbank budget, the Malampaya Fund, and the road user's tax as possible funding sources for the CCT for PUV drivers.


"Most Filipino drivers are living in poverty. Drivers of jeepneys, tricycles, and pedicabs often live in extreme poverty. They are disadvantaged because of the lack of education, livelihood options, and poor or zero access to basic government services," the congresswoman said.




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Thursday, 18 January 2018
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