Senator Win Gatchalian said the government has failed to mention how it intends to help drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) who are also reeling from the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine enforced to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
PUV drivers are left with no choice but to stop operating while all modes of public transportation have been suspended by the quarantine.
Citing data from the 2018 PUV modernization program report of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Gatchalian said a jeepney driver, for instance, usually takes home ₱14,685 a month. Each driver has up to seven family members on the average who entirely depend on the driver’s daily take home pay for their expenses. The same data showed that 40 percent or 84,443 out of the total 209,124 jeepney drivers in the country are in Metro Manila.
That is why Gatchalian said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) should roll out the Pantawid Pasada Program (PPP) to financially aid these jeepney drivers.
“There will be no Pantawid Pasada this year under the TRAIN Law.”
The DOTr had earlier confirmed to the Office of Senator Gatchalian that there will be no Pantawid Pasada this year as concluded by the interagency committee for social mitigating measures under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
“Ngayong mayroong enhanced community quarantine, isa sa mga naapektuhan ay ang ating mga public utility vehicle drivers. Gaya ng karamihan dito sa bansa, sila rin ay masasabing namumuhay ng arawang kita. Kung may tigil pasada, ano na lamang ang ipapakain nila sa pamilya nila,” the veteran legislator said.
The PPP was initiated in 2018 to cushion the impact of higher fuel excise tax through the TRAIN law which funds the fuel subsidy given to jeepney drivers.
“DOLE should have displaced drivers covered by the department’s emergency employment program.”
The seasoned lawmaker also proposed that displaced PUV drivers be covered by the Department of Labors’s emergency employment program during the duration of the quarantine.