HOUSE Transportation Committee chairman and Samar Representative Edgar Mary Sarmiento called on the Department of Transportation (DOTR) to adopt a “bakuna-for-ayuda” campaign for all public utility drivers, who are among the most exposed to the dangers of the dreaded coronavirus and its variants
Sarmiento said public utility drivers are also considered as frontline workers and should be given utmost priority by the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) and to convince some drivers who are still having second thoughts about getting their Covid jabs.
The DOTR can provide cash incentives or cash aid for those who have been fully vaccinated, Sarmiento added.
The “bakuna-for-ayuda” campaign, the solon said, will not only help ensure the safety of the drivers and their passengers but it will also provide them an additional lifeline in their daily struggle to make ends meet because of the pandemic.
Sarmiento said the DOTR can launch a nationwide “vaccination program” for PUV drivers which will be timed with the distribution of their cash aid or “ayuda” which can be sourced partly from the P3 Billion “Bayanihan 2” fund allotted under the General Appropriations Act of 2021.
According to Sarmiento, the service contracting fund that was allotted under the GAA program is still available and should be utilized at the soonest possible time to help the public transport sector which is one of the hardest-hit because of the pandemic.
Sarmiento noted that just like the doctors and nurses, the PUV drivers are also important in the country’s fight against the pandemic as they are the ones who ensure that all of our medical and economic frontliners are transported quickly and safely.
“ We will be hitting two birds in one stone if we do this bakuna-for-ayuda program. We will be able to provide financial help to our drivers and at the same time ensure that they get vaccinated.
Our PUV drivers are one sector which needs to get vaccinated ASAP,” Sarmiento said.