A party-list lawmaker on Thursday sought the inclusion in the Bayanihan to Recover as One bill the need for personal protective equipment (PPEs) of public transportation drivers, stressing that they are also frontliners in the fight against the pandemic.
DUMPER PTDA Party-list Rep. Claudine Bautista aired this appeal as she initiated the distribution of face shields to PUV drivers in Metro Manila and Davao City.
At least 15,000 pieces of face shields will be given out in DUMPER-PTDA’s initial distribution operation next week to prepare drivers to comply with a new anti-COVID-19 policy that will make the PPE mandatory for jeepney drivers and passengers.
Bautista said that with the mandatory wearing of face shields, government should take care of the expenses PUV drivers will incur to comply with the directive.
According to her, the budget for PPE requirements of drivers should be included as a provision of the Bayanihan 2 that was approved on second reading in the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
“We already included the procurement of face masks, face shields, and PPEs in the Bayanihan 2. Also, I have added provisions in the bill to help the transportation sector especially our drivers,” said Bautista, who co-authored the bill.
A P3 billion allocation was provided in the Bayanihan 2 for the purchase of PPEs for frontliners and indigents.
Bautista challenged local government units to share in the expenses that will protect their constituents from COVID-19 infection.
She suggested that LGUs should also purchase face masks and face shields for distribution to PUV drivers and their constituents.
During the previously imposed community quarantines, Rep. Bautista’s office spearheaded the distribution of more than one million face masks, PPEs and other protective gear to medical and non-medical frontliners in selected cities and provinces in the country with hopes to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Initial orders to be released are 15,000 pieces but I have ordered a total of 50,000 face shields for our drivers,” said Bautista.
“As partylist representatives, we’re working with a limited budget because we can only determine where funds are spent, but the actual spending and implementation of projects and initiatives relies heavily on the executive, including our local government units,” the partylist lawmaker said.