Poe to authorities: Ensure govt aid to transport sector


SENATOR Grace Poe on Sunday pushed transport authorities to make sure all government assistance for the transport sector is implemented well and fast, as drivers reel from a series of oil price hikes even while being barred from raising fares.

In a radio interview, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Services lamented the absence of quick response from authorities tasked to deal with the mounting problems of the public transport sector, topped by inadequate government assistance and delays in payments under the service contracting scheme.

Poe acknowledged the brewing unrest in the transport sector needs to be addressed quickly to avert inconvenience to commuters.

“That is becoming a problem,” said Poe, noting there is even a still unsettled P20 million that LTFRB has yet to pay for service contracting, even as  she conveyed concerns that this is a “very serious issue with many drivers if they do not get the promised payment for their services.”

She described it as “a life-or-death ([issue) for many of our drivers,” reminding authorities concerned about the possible repercussions if drivers do not receive the promised payment for their services. The senator said they reminded officials of the Department of Transportation and its attached agencies that they will review whether the government’s obligations to the stakeholders have been given before approving their 2022 budgets in plenary.

Meanwhile, another brewing issue has arisen between drivers and the transport operators on the computation of their shares from daily fares collection computed on the number of passengers.

“Now, that is not just the only problem,” she said, adding, partly in Filipino: “Sometimes drivers complain about their pay not being commensurate to the kilometers they covered in a day. For example, a driver covers 120 kms in one day, but he gets paid only for the equivalent of between 20 and25 kms.

Meanwhile, while acknowledging the recent government service to provide P1 billion in cash aid to  over 170,000 transport workers, Poe slammed the poor implementation of well-meaning policies.

“We [lawmakers] allocated nearly P6 billion for service contracting, but they spent less than P1 billion. That’s money, we know how money rolls and primes the economy. You give that to displaced transport workers so they have temporary jobs and their families can spend it, and in turn help the businesses that supply what they need.”

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