House panel vows to ensure PUV drivers get cash aid

The House Committee on Transportation vowed Monday to closely coordinate with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to ensure that the long-overdue cash aid under the national government’s Social Amelioration Program (SAP) will be given to public transport drivers.


Samar Rep. Edgar Mary Sarmiento, chairman of the panel, made the assurance after President Duterte placed the National Capital Region (NCR) and Bulacan, Laguna, Cavite, and Rizal back to a modified enhanced community quarantine for 15 days effective Tuesday amid the increasing cases of COVID-19.

"There is a really a need right now. The President has again declared the NCR and other places under MECQ, by doing so wala na namang public transportation (There will be no public transportation). We will be working closely with the DSWD so that finally the concerns of the drivers, specifically the ameloriation ay maibigay sa kanila (will be given to them),” he said.

He said DSWD Secretary Rolando Bautista has “committed” that the concerns of the public transport drivers will be addressed.

“I’ve discussed the issue on the PUV (public utility vehicles) jeepneys with Secretary Rolly. We have a formula on it and we will act on it today,” Sarmiento said.

He explained that to expedite the distribution of cash aid to the PUV drivers, his panel "will delegate a point persons that will work closely with the LTFRB and DSWD to verify the list submitted by the LTFRB for us to make sure there is no duplication."

He said they will zero in on the list provided by the LTFRB and they will look at it “per organization of the jeepneys” and “by locality.”

“We have to focus first on the NCR down the line of the different regions. That will be easier to look at the names,” Sarmiento said.

During the House panel’s virtual motu proprio probe on land transportation policies last Thursday, LTFRB Chairman Martin Delgra III told lawmakers that they have submitted the list of 400,000 driver-beneficiaries to the DSWD last May, and “a little over 10 percent” only received their cash aid.