Thousands of PUV operators get P802 million direct cash aid — LTFRB

Published December 5, 2020, 1:24 PM

by Alexandria Dennise San Juan

More than P802 million financial aid under the government’s direct cash subsidy program has been distributed to operators of over 123,000 public utility vehicles (PUVs) in the country who have been affected by the pandemic.

Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) Chairman Martin Delgra III said in a statement that at least 59,000 PUV operators have already received the P6,500 subsidy given from November 16 to December 4.

According to Delgra, the LTFRB aims to distribute the remaining cash subsidy to the operator-beneficiaries within the month, in time with the Christmas season.

“Bukod sa tulong ay pamasko na rin ito ng gobyerno sa mga operator na nakaranas ng hirap nitong mga nakaraang buwan dulot ng pandemya (Apart from assistance, it is also the government’s Christmas gift for operators who have really experienced difficulties in the past months due to the COVID-19 pandemic),” Delgra said.

“Patunay ito sa nais ng pamahalaan na sila ay tulungang makabangon. Hindi po sila pababayaan habang dumaranas tayong lahat ng pandemya (This is an affirmation of the government’s desire to help them recover. They will not be neglected during this pandemic),” he added.

The LTFRB chief said the remaining 12 percent of the cash aid is scheduled to be distributed in the coming days from the over P917 million “obligated funds” reserved for operators of 17,612 PUV units.

Some P1.158 billion funding has been allotted under the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act or the “Bayanihan 2” to implement the program and assist PUV operators who have been severely affected by the health crisis.

Based on the data from the LTFRB, at least 178,000 PUV units are targeted to be assisted under the program including 120,000 jeepneys, 21,998 buses, 24,374 UV Express units, 10,188 Filcabs, 1,259 mini buses, and 426 point-to-point shuttles.

Under the program, beneficiaries can use the cash aid as debt payments, for fuel and other operational and maintenance expenses, for purchase of health supplies to avoid contracting COVID-19, or other needs to continue their day-to-day operations.

The LTFRB said the cash subsidy for PUV operators will be deposited in their Landbank Pantawid Pasada Program Cash Cards or into their existing Landbank or any bank accounts through PESONet and INSTAPay. 

Over-the-counter withdrawal at Landbank servicing branches will also be available for beneficiaries without cash cards or bank accounts, the agency added.