The transport sector is the hardest-hit in the country because aside from facing the threat of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), they also suffer lack of funding support from government and overregulation, Partido Reporma chairman and standard-bearer Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson had stated.
During the “Online Kumustahan” in Quezon City over the weekend, Lacson stressed the need to extend to public utility drivers urgent aid, saying that they deserve it.
“Very important kasi sila ‘yung hard-hit... In fact, the hardest hit sector, ‘yung transport sector ng pandemya dahil ‘nung nag-lockdown talagang tigil lahat sila. Katunayan ‘yung bus operators, mga bus driver, jeepney drivers, taxi drivers, tricycle drivers hirap na hirap. )They are very important because they are hard-hit... In fact the hardest hit sector was the transport sector during the pandemic, because they all stopped during the lockdowns. The bus operators, the bus drivers, jeepney drivers, taxi drivers, tricycle drivers are all suffering.),” said Lacson.
The presidential aspirant discussed with transport sector leaders and members on Saturday, Dec. 4 the problems and his proposed solutions to them.
Lacson, son son of a jeepney driver, said this was why he and Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III – his running mate – ensured that funds were earmarked for drivers under the Bayanihan Act laws.
“And that’s the reason why ‘nung in-author ni Senate President ‘yung Bayanihan I, Bayanihan II—at least sa Bayanihan II—naglaan ng pondo doon para bigyan ng ayuda ‘yung mga driver kasi sila talaga ‘yung tinamaan e; P5.58-billion ang nilagak na pondo at kami sinuportahan namin ‘yon bilang miyembro ng majority sa Senado—initiative ni Senate President. “That’s the reason why, when the Senate President authored Bayanihan I, Bayanihan II—at least for Bayanihan II—we earmarked funds to give cash aid for the drivers, because they were the worst hit. We set aside P5.58 billion, and we supported that as members of the Senate majority – as an initiative of the Senate President.),” said the veteran lawmaker.
He lamented that the aid did not reach the drivers at the time they needed it most because only one percent of that fund has been disbursed, Lacson said, citing a Commission on Audit report.
It was revealed that senators learned of this only during the ongoing probe of Pharmally’s anomalous purchases of COVID-19 supplies for the government, the longtime public servant added.
“So, ang problema, noong nagkaroon na ng audit report ‘yung COA... Aba, e one percent lang pala ang napamigay, so sa halip na matulungan kaagad... Kasi when it mattered most dapat doon na ibigay ‘yung ayuda. (So the problem is, when COA released its audit report... Only one percent was disbursed, so instead of helping (the drivers) right away... Because when it mattered most, that’s when the cash aid should have been given.),” Lacson said.
“So, ‘nung kinalampag namin, nagkaroon kami ng pagdinig ulit—I think sa Pharmally na ito ‘nung naungkat namin na, teka muna, bakit pati ‘yung ayuda ng mga driver hindi naibibigay? So, ngayon, nag-ca-catch up sila. (So, when we called their attention to it, we had another hearing – I think this was during the Pharmally hearing when we discovered that, wait a minute, why hasn’t the cash aid for drivers been disbursed? So, now they’re playing catch-up),” he said.