MARCH 27, 2020 — The transportation department should realign its 2020 budget to help transport workers displaced by the enhanced community quarantine, a lawmaker said on Friday.
Senator Grace Poe said funds for big-ticket transport-related projects, which were placed on hold due to the public health crisis, could be set aside to help public transport drivers and other workers who lost their livelihood.
For almost two weeks now, all forms of transportation have been grounded as a measure to stop thr spread of the corona virus disease.
As of Thursday, the highly contagious respiratory disease has killed 45 and sickened 707 people. Only 28 have recovered, the health department said.
Poe said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) has an idle fund of about P17 billion which can realigned to help displaced workers.
“We might as well realign these funds for the benefit of our transport drivers whose earnings are severely affected due to the enhanced quarantine,” said Poe in a statement issued Friday.
“Ang pondo na pangtayo dapat ng proyekto ay ipamigay na o ipambili na lang ng pagkain ng mga drayber ng mga pampublikong sasakyan. Surely, no one will contest that the right to food of a PUV driver is more important than some obscure project.”
The senator also suggested using incremental revenue from Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law earmarked for mitigation measures, including fuel vouchers for franchise holders of public utility jeepneys.
“The amount for the fuel vouchers should be repurposed as cash or food assistance in this time of emergency. Dapat gamitin ito bilang pantawid sa walang pasada,” explained Poe.
She said there are around 13,000 public utility bus drivers and roughly 47,000 motorcycle taxi drivers in Metro Manila alone.
In a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease in the country, the president placed the entire island of Luzon under an enhanced community quarantine and effectively banned al mass transportation to encourage citizens to stay at home and practice social distancing. (Nicole Dacanay / MM)
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