Recto wants DOTr relieved from managing P3-B service contracting fund

Published November 22, 2021, 3:47 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto on Monday, Nov. 22 expressed belief that the disbursement of assistance fund intended for public utility vehicle (PUV) operators and drivers could be handled better by other agencies instead of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

Recto issued the statement in today’s resumption of deliberations on the Senate version of the proposed P120 billion budget for DOTr after noticing DoTr’s low disbursement rate of its 2021 P88 billion budget.

Of the P88 billion, some P54.4 billion had been obligated and P23 billion spent so far.

Recto particularly cited the P3 billion earmarked under the 2021General Appropriations Act (GAA or national budget) for DOTr’s service contracting program that remained underutilized.

According to Recto, as of September 30, only 20 percent or about P600 million has so far been disbursed.

“I agree that we need to help the PUV sector, but I just don’t know if the DOTr is the best agency to do it. Maybe it would even be better if it will be handled by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Recto said.

Service contracting is a program of the DOTr wherein drivers and operators of PUVs are paid by the government to ply their routes.

Senator Grace Poe, who defended the proposed P120 billion DOTr budget, said there are about 300,000 public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers of which 100,000 are jeepney drivers.