Press Release
June 3, 2020


Sen. Grace Poe urged the government to hire traditional jeepneys compliant to safety protocols to augment the fleet of public utility vehicles (PUVs) that will shuttle commuters to work amid the general community quarantine (GCQ).

To ensure social distancing and prevent the transmission of COVID-19, Poe said the jeepneys should bear markers and partitions, and should observe other health and safety measures.

Now that physical distancing is a must, Poe said government should all the more provide transportation options given the limited capacities of PUVs that left thousands of commuters stranded and unable to go to work.

"Malinaw na walang masakyan ang maraming pasaherong bukod sa nagtitiis sa kakahintay sa mahabang pila ay hindi rin siguradong makakarating sa kanilang pupuntahan," she said.

During deliberations on the Bayanihan to Recover as One bill, Poe suggested that an amount be set aside for hiring of the additional shuttles and that clear guidelines should be in place for the comeback of the jeepney.

Poe noted that since the start of the GCQ, only 90 buses are plying along EDSA as against the 3,500 buses running pre-quarantine. With only 25 passengers per trip per unit, only about 20,000 passengers can be accommodated instead of the 250,000 before the lockdown.

"A line on the Department of Transportation spending should state that it will prioritize hiring of additional shuttles during our transition process into an eased quarantine," Poe said.

At the same time, Poe asked the agency to directly subsidize drivers and buses and jeepneys that will be allowed to be back on the road during the transition period.

"This will enable PUV drivers to comply with social distancing measures without sacrificing financial viability," she said.

Poe also asked for the prompt release of promised subsidies to PUV drivers and operators, who were left without income during the lockdown.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) earlier said that some 435,619 PUV drivers in Luzon will get financial assistance amounting to P5,000 to P8,000 each from the government, which many of them have yet to receive.

"Simula po noong mag-lockdown, wala kaming natanggap na ayuda. Iniintay po namin yung ayudang manggagaling ng LTFRB. Lahat po lista-lista, wala kaming natanggap, kaya hirap na hirap kami sa buhay," said Ando Culayo, a driver from Quezon City who reportedly has not received any aid despite applying with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and LTFRB.

For the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, Poe proposed that the DOTr maintains the status quo or 'no phaseout' on PUV modernization to prevent mass displacement.

The senator also pushed for the inclusion of the department's mandate to guarantee a masterlist of qualified transport service workers to implement the wage subsidies and cash-for-work program, and coordinate the accelerated distribution of the first and second rounds of subsidy under Bayanihan.

Poe also pitched to negotiate the restructuring of existing loans and the provision of credit lines and interest-free loans of critically impacted transport service providers and facilitate the contracting of PUVs and other forms of emergency livelihood arrangements.

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