n By Maricel V. Cruz
Rep. Claudine Diana Bautista-Lim of DUMPER PTDA party-list legislator representing the transport sector on Saturday said public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers will not incur losses from their usual daily income once the nationwide fare discount takes effect next month.
Bautista-Lim clarified that the implementation of the Service Contracting Program (SCP) will not affect the drivers’ income because of the discount on fares.
“Our PUV drivers will never incur losses because the government will shoulder the fare discount that it will be implemented. While it may be true that there will be lower fares in favor of commuters, this does not mean drivers will be at a disadvantage because the SCP will fill in the discounts,” Bautista-Lim said.
She added the program will be implemented nationwide and drivers have nothing to worry about.
Bautista-Lim added that the move by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is very timely as PUVs and the riding public transition to the old normal before the pandemic. More and more PUVs are now plying the country’s major thoroughfares.
In a dialogue with the DOTr, Bautista-Lim maintained that PUV drivers “should be paid on time under the service contracting program and without any hassle.” While on the other hand reminded the LTFRB and DOTr to make timely payments for these PUV drivers.
The LTFRB is still determining the number of units joining the service contracting program given the reality that it has limited funding. DUMPER PTDA echoed the statement of the LTFRB that students, person with disabilities (PWDs), and senior citizens will enjoy additional discounts under the program.
Bautista-Lim, vice chair of the House committee on transportation, and of the appropriations committee reiterated that under the SCP, the government needs to ensure that the program has sufficient funding to encourage more PUV drivers to join. She said the DOTr must pay the drivers on time as it will benefit more commuters. She added the need to push in Congress for more funding for the SCP to continue enjoying lower fares.
Earlier, the LTFRB announced the approval of the fare discount for PUVs, and is set to take effect in April all over the country. Upon its implementation, said fares in traditional jeepneys will revert to P9 – the same fare before the pandemic hit and before the fare increase was enforced. At the same time, transport fees for modernized jeepneys will be at P11 while bus fares will be reduced by P3 to P4.
“DUMPER PTDA” stands for Drivers United for Mass Progress and Equal Rights-Philippine Taxi Drivers Association.