Amid the unabated spikes in fuel costs, re-elected Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has proposed to increase the monthly ayuda of public utility vehicle drivers to P3,000 in five months.
“The immediate solution is to expand the Pantawid Pasada. Ang proposal ko (my proposal) P3,000 a month for the next five months. That will cost us about P4 billion,” Gatchalian said.
The proposed P3,000 ayuda, he sald, will be given to jeepney, bus, UV Express, and taxi drivers while tricycle drivers could get around P1,000 as financial aid.
As he pushes for an increase in government financial aid, he also urged PUV drivers to fix their documents immediately to ensure swift distribution of the Pantawid Pasada Program of the government.
With the lessons in the distribution of previous tranches of financial aid, Gatchalian hopes the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board will release the ayuda within one week.
“When we allocate funds, hopefully, in one week we can give cards to our drivers which is very important,” he said
The government, he said, could source the additional funding for the Pantawid Pamilya Program from the unobligated funds under the LTFRB and the Department of Transportation.
“So, it is not so big, P4 billion. I think makukuha naman natin sa mga (we can get that from) unobligated funds,’ he said.
If the allocation is not enough, he said the Congress can pass a supplemental budget to fund the financial aid to PUV drivers.
The incoming chairman of the Senate committee on ways and means also renewed his belief that suspending excise tax on fuel should be the “last resort” in addressing the high price of oil.
He removing the excise taxes on oil products would cost the government more than P150 billion in the next six months as revenue losses.
Gatchalian also recommended the government must expand its Libreng Sakay Program and contract the affected PUV drivers.
“We can also expand the Libreng Sakay program ng gobyerno so that those who stopped plying the roads can be contracted by the government to serve the riding public,” he added.
As a long-term solution, he cited the need to study the Department of Energy’s suggestion to amend the Oil Deregulation Law and insert a provision that seeks the unbundling of domestic prices.
“It cannot happen without a law because may temporary restraining order against that