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More passengers in public transport pushed
THE Department of Transportation (DOTR ) is ready to defend its recommendation to increase passenger capacity in public transportation, road, and rail, with pilot implementation in Metro Manila, before the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-EID) on Thursday.
During the public hearing of the subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Finance on the proposed 2022 budget of the DOTR and its attached agencies, Assistant Secretary for Road Transport and Infrastructure Steve Pastor said the department has submitted to the IATF its formal position paper on the increase in passenger capacity for public transport.
The recommendation to increase passenger capacity in public transport is one of the measures being considered by the DOTR to help drivers and operators amid the pandemic and the continued increase of fuel prices. Pilot implementation will be in Metro Manila.
“Nakapag-submit na po ang road sector ng formal position paper na i-increase ang seating capacity from 50% na para po sa amin, kung masusunod ang Kagawaran, ay pwedeng maging 100% based on medical literature that is available. At the same time, we are ready to defend our position to IATF this Thursday. Alam naman natin na mayroon pa rin tayong dapat idulog sa IATF dahil this is not only a matter of public transportation but also a matter of public health,” Asec. Pastor said.
In line with the position of DOTR led by Secretary Tugade against any fare increase as well as to balance the need of drivers and operators and the commuting public, Asec. Pastor stressed that hikes in fuel prices should not be shouldered by the passengers.
P1B fuel subsidy for transport bodies
Meanwhile, the DOTR welcomed the release of P1 billion to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) as fuel subsidies in support of the transportation sector amid the increasing prices of fuel and oil products.
“We assure the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) that the released amount pursuant to Section 82 of the TRAIN Law, will be distributed as cash grants to qualified and bonafide Public Utility Vehicles (PUV) drivers for the remaining months of this year, “ the DOTR said.
Qualified PUV drivers will receive the cash grants using the system already established under the Pantawid Pasada Program of the LTFRB, where the Landbank of the Philippines shall disburse money straight to the cash cards issued to drivers.
The DOTR is one with the other government agencies to find means and measures that will help sustain the livelihood of affected drivers and operators in the transport sector especially during this time of the pandemic.