Lacson urges gov't: Consider helping disenfranchised drivers too

Published March 17, 2022, 3:27 PM

by Mario Casayuran

Presidential candidate Panfilo ‘Ping’ M. Lacson has called on government agencies tasked to distribute fuel subsidies for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers to consider helping some tricycle drivers and operators without franchises because they, too, are affected by oil price increases.

Concerns among the disenfranchised drivers who would naturally be left out of the state-funded ‘pantawid pasada’ program surfaced when Lacson, Partido Reporma standard-bearer, held town hall meetings during his visits to Tuguegarao City and Sanchez Mira, Cagayan last Tuesday.

According to members of various tricycle operators’ and drivers’ associations (TODA) Lacson spoke with, they have colleagues who wanted to access the same benefits, but would be unable to do so because they failed to apply for franchises through no fault of their own.

Lacson said he acknowledged these concerns and emphasized that the matter is best addressed to the leadership of their local government units (LGU), which are in the position to resolve these issues with the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB).

‘’This is not a question of ‘if’ there is subsidy. There really is a subsidy and you are included, but the issue of colorum—four drivers sharing one tricycle—I could not answer that question. What I’m only saying is there is a P5-billion (fund), and if you’re a tricycle driver operating legally, you are entitled to a subsidy,’’ he told tricycle drivers in Sanchez Mira.

Lacson said he is aware there are tricycle drivers who are being denied their applications for a franchise, so the LGUs could exercise some degree of control in the traffic situation of their streets and prevent a ‘glut’ or oversupply of PUVs on the roads.

‘’You know, the LGUs also have a problem of their own because they are trying to maintain or they are observing what we call a limit or quota… Because if they are going to accept all of it (applications for franchises), it would worsen the traffic,’’ he pointed out.

‘’It would result in what we call a ‘glut’ (of tricycles on the roads), leading to fierce competition (among the drivers). So, that is one problem that we need to resolve with our local government units concerned,’’ he added.

Lacson earlier advised TODA organizations to prepare a verified list of their members and coordinate right away with their LGUs, so they could receive their fuel subsidy out of the P5-billion allocated by the government for such purpose amid the soaring prices of oil in the global market.