Marcos says DBCC has released P1-B cash grants for 178,000 PUV drivers

Published October 25, 2021, 2:36 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senator Imee Marcos, chairwoman of the Senate economic affairs committee, on Monday, Oct. 25 said she would be keeping a close watch on the announcement by the Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) that it was releasing P1 billion to provide cash grants to 178,000 bonafide Public Utility Vehicles (PUVs) drivers for the remaining months of 2021.

‘’That is good news,’’ Senator Grace Poe commented on the Marcos announcement of the DBCC decision during her (Poe’s Senate public services committee) consultative with Department of Transportation (DOTr) on its proposed 2022 budget.

Senators pressed DOTr officials led by Secretary Art Tugade to help the hapless transportation sector, particularly jeepney and bus drivers, hit by a series of recent price hikes of oil products caused by increased global oil demand.

The DOTr had adopted a “no fare hike” policy.

Marcos said the DOTr has ‘’no planning’’ even as the uptick in oil products in the world market was noticed the past months.

She pressed for the exercise by Executive branch of its powers to suspend the collection of excise tax on oil imports and the issuance of discount cards to PUV drivers.

In its three-paragraph statement, the DBCC said it was committed to help support the country’s transport sector, amid the increasing oil prices.

The DBCC said it was releasing P1 billion to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to ‘’provide cash grants to around 178,000 PUV drivers for the remaining months of the year.’’

‘’This will be distributed using the system established under the ’Pantawid Pasada Program’ of the LTFRB,’’ it stated.

DBCC said the funds would be charged against the Fiscal Year 2021 ‘’Unprogrammed Appropriations’’ under the Support for Infrastructure Projects and Social Program.

In a related development, Tugade said his department is lifting its order banning the registration of vehicles through the controversial mandatory vehicle testing by Private Motor Vehicle Inspection Centers (PMVICs).

The other testing centers – Private Emission Testing Centers (PETCs) – are used for the inspection of trucks and tricycles, drivers have pointed out.

In allowing the two centers to operate, Tugade said he is guided by two simple principles: Allow the interplay of marketing efforts and standards are to be complied with.

Let the vehicle owners decide, he added.

DOTR maintained that the roadworthiness of vehicles must be ensured.

There are 72 PMVICs compared to 808 PETCs.

It is said that the scope of inspection by PMVICs is wider compared to PETCs

On the issue of additional fees, the DOTr said it was able to convince PMVICs to lower their inspection rate from ₱1,500 to ₱600 for light vehicles, and ₱500 for motorcycles, “which is similar to rates collected by a PETC.

It added that reinspection or retest fees were likewise waived.