The proposed 30% fuel subsidy for operators of public utility vehicles affected by strict quarantine protocols has been adopted by the country's inter-agency task force handling the COVID-19 response, according to a Department of Transportation (DOTr) official on Monday.
"As of the latest feedback po, nai-present na ito sa inter-agency task force and during the last task force meeting, the task force already adopted the said proposal of the DOTR," Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Richmund De Leon said during the a hearing conducted by the Senate committee on public services.
"So we will just follow up this measure with the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) kung paano na po ang mechanics ng pag-download ng pera for that measure," he added.
The subsidy for 30% of the daily fuel consumption of public utility vehicle operators across the country is estimated to reach P8.8 billion for a three-month general community quarantine period, according to Transportation Assistant Secretary Mark Steven Pastor.
"This will be equivalent, for bus units, 36 liters, and 12 liters for our jeepney operators. Taking into consideration the 23% reduced amount of our fuel, para sa 36 liters natin this is more or less P1,200, and for the 12 liters this is more or less nasa P360 pesos," Pastor said during the same hearing.
The proposal to restructure the existing loans of public transport operators has also been adopted by the inter-agency task force against COVID-19, according to De Leon.
"I think some of the government financial institutions such as Land Bank and DBP (Development Bank of the Philippines) have already granted this proposal of the DOTr and also mandated din sila under the Bayanihan Act," he said.
He added that the DOTr has requested for additional loan programs for PUV operators and drivers during the general community quarantine period.
The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) said the transport sector will probably suffer from reduced revenues as less passengers would be allowed to ride each public vehicle to avoid possible transmission of the virus.
The entire Luzon has been placed under enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) since March 17—shutting down several establishments and suspending mass transportation to limit population movement and arrest the spread of the contagion.
The same measure has been extended until May 15 to Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Calabarzon and other high-risk areas in the country.
Outside these areas where general community quarantine is in effect since May 1, public utility vehicles had been allowed to operate at 50% capacity.
According to the LTFRB, more than two million passengers are expected to take public transportation once the ECQ is lifted in Metro Manila. — RSJ, GMA News