CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – More than 5,000 public utility vehicle (PUV) operators in the region have become recipients of the P36 million cash aid from the Department of Transportation (DOTr) after Northern Mindanao has been included in the granting of financial assistance to the public transport sector, an official from the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-10 (LTFRB-10) said Monday (Nov. 23).
The assistance is a direct cash subsidy provided by the DOTr to PUV operators under the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act 2, or Republic Act 11494, as a government response to the pandemic brought by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), said Aminoden Guro, LTFRB-10 regional director.
Each operator who has complied with the requirements will be receiving P6,500, said Guro.
In Northern Mindanao, there are 5,540 operators of PUVs such as jeepneys, buses, multicabs, and vans which have LTFRB-granted franchises.
Guro said that only the PUV operators in National Capital Region, Eastern Visayas and Davao Region were supposed to have received the assistance, but the DOTr has added Northern Mindanao on its list of direct cash subsidy beneficiaries.
He said the DOTr has alloted P1.162 billion for the cash aid program.
As of Nov. 23, more than 85 percent of mostly PUJ operators in the region have already received the direct cash subsidy, Guro said.
He added that those who are holder of “pantawid pasada program” (PPP) cash cards were the first to receive the assistance as the subsidy were automatically deposited to their respective accounts at Land Bank.
“Those who have no PPP cash cards may avail of the subsidy through over-the-counter withdrawal,” Guro said.
Meanwhile, the LTFRB-10 has encouraged public transport groups to partner with malls, commercial establishments, and companies in providing services to their employees and clientele.
This after the SM Downtown management has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Oro Transport Services Cooperative (Orotsco) recently.
In the MOU, the transport cooperative has agreed to ferry the mall’s customers and workers especially in the evening when PUVs become scarce.
Evangeline Ditona, SM Downtown mall manager, said they were “being assertive” by extending their mall hours up to 8:00 p.m. to cater to those allowed to go out at night or authorized persons outside residence who can only buy their and their family’s essential needs after work.
Guro said an agreement between the public transport sector and private businesses will be mutually beneficial to both parties.
For his part, Samuel Abello, Orotsco general manager, said, “this is a symbiotic relationship between transport and businessmen as transportation is essential in the mobility of goods and people.” (davaotoday.com)cash assistance, government aid, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory, LTFRB-10, Northern Mindanao, pandemic, public utility vehicle, PUV operators