FORMER Sen. Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. on Friday urged the national government to provide more assistance to transport workers who are still reeling from the devastation of the Covid19 pandemic on their livelihood.
Marcos noted the disappointment aired by some transport groups who claim that none of the 800,000 operators, drivers, and transport workers received the allotted funds meant to support them.
“Bigyan natin ng sapat na tulong ang ating mga kababayan na nagtatrabaho sa transport sector. Ang ating tinutukoy rito ay ang mga tsuper ng jeep, driver ng mga taxi at yung mga pedicab drivers na araw-araw kailangang kumayod para sa kanilang pamilya,” Marcos said.
A spokesperson from the Pagkakaisa ng mga Samahan ng Tsuper at Operator Nationwide (Piston) said recently that they were surprised to hear that there was P5 billion earmarked for transport workers.
Piston lamented that it should have been distributed to the workers in all modes of transportation, including buses, taxis, tricycles, and UV Express vans, who were among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
According to a 2020 Commission on Audit (COA) report, only P59 million of the P5.58 billion fund allocated to the LTFRB was used for the service contracting program to subsidize operators and drivers to ply their routes to serve those allowed to report for work.
Marcos also said that the service contracting program should continue to supplant the reduced income of PUV drivers. Some drivers reported only earning P250 after a hard day’s work.
“Maganda ang layunin ng programang ito at dapat lamang na ipagpatuloy ng pamahalaan dahil may mga tsuper na nagsasabing bumaba sa P250 kada araw na lang ang kita nila kapag bumibiyahe,” Marcos added.
Marcos also appealed to the IATF to increase the seating capacity of PUJs to allow drivers and operators to recoup their losses since passenger numbers are still weak even as the economy slowly reopens and businesses gradually resumes operation.
“Sana rin ay ikunsidera ng IATF na taasan ang kapasidad ng mga pasahero sa mga PUVs. Ayon sa nakarating sa ating impormasyon, para makabawi sa krudo at gastusin sa isang biyahe, kailangan umabot sa sampu ang pasahero kada biyahe. Pero sa ngayon pumapatak lang sa 6 to 8 na pasahero ang naisasakay nila dahil sa mga restrictions,” Marcos said.
Marcos also urged the government to ease restrictions among transport workers as they will play an essential role as the country’s economic reopening picks up steam.
“Luwagan na rin natin ang mga restriction sa ating mga transport workers dahil sa unti-unting pagbubukas ng ekonomiya, mas kakailanganin natin ang kanilang serbisyo,” Marcos added.