Senator Win Gatchalian said the government has failed to mention how it intends to help drivers of public utility vehicles (PUVs) who are reeling too from the imposed month-long enhanced community quarantine due to COVID-19. PUV drivers are left with no choice but to stop operating while all modes of public transportation have been suspended.
Citing data from the 2018 PUV modernization program report of the 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.
The DOTr has 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,” Gatchalian 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.
Gatchalian also proposes for the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to have these displaced drivers covered by the department’s emergency employment program where they can help in disinfecting their community.