Government Aid for Drivers Affected by PUVMP

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Government Assistance for Affected PUJ Drivers

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) has announced that public utility jeepney (PUJ) drivers who will be adversely affected by the Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program (PUVMP) will receive government assistance. According to DSWD Assistant Secretary Irene Dumlao, requests for assistance will be promptly responded to, although they are subject to evaluation by social workers to determine the appropriate help or interventions needed.

Under the Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situation (AICS) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP), the DSWD may provide food or financial aid to eligible PUJ drivers. Dumlao emphasized that priority will be given to drivers who meet the eligibility requirements under the SLP, such as being included in the Listahanan database or being members of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps). The AICS program offers urgent and temporary assistance to individuals and families in crisis, while the SLP aims to enhance the socioeconomic positions of program members through community-based capacity-building initiatives.

The Public Utility Vehicle Modernization Program

The PUVMP is a government initiative aimed at replacing outdated public utility vehicles, particularly PUJs, with modern units. As part of the program, jeepney and UV express operators are required to join a cooperative or corporation in order to continue operating. The deadline for consolidation has been extended multiple times, with the most recent extension lasting until April 30th.

Scrutiny and Oversight

Senator Grace Poe has called for transportation officials to be prepared for scrutiny regarding the potential impact of the PUVMP. She has specifically highlighted the utilization of the P200-million fund for drivers’ livelihood assistance. As the head of the Senate Committee on Public Services, Poe has expressed her commitment to personally oversee the implementation of the program.

Poe has requested the Department of Transportation (DOTr) to provide comprehensive data on the status and revised timeline of the PUVMP, as well as updated statistics on the consolidation of jeepneys, affected routes, and contingency plans to protect commuters from any adverse effects. She has also inquired about the DOTR’s plan for drivers who have lost their livelihoods and the status of assistance programs such as the Entrepreneur and Tsuper Iskolar programs.

Furthermore, Poe has urged the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) to establish help desks nationwide to assist jeepney drivers and operators who still need to join the program. She believes that there is a disconnect or misunderstanding regarding the program and hopes that the LTFRB can provide clarity and support to those who require assistance.

Despite her concerns, Poe remains committed to finding solutions and advocating for the welfare of affected drivers. She has consistently questioned various aspects of the PUVMP, including the route rationalization plan, subsidies, and alternative livelihood opportunities. Poe emphasizes the need for transparency and accountability from the DOTR, urging them to fulfill their commitments and address the concerns raised.

In conclusion, the DSWD’s provision of government assistance to PUJ drivers affected by the PUVMP is a significant step in supporting those who may face challenges during the modernization process. Senator Grace Poe’s call for scrutiny and oversight ensures that the program’s implementation is closely monitored, with a focus on protecting the livelihoods of drivers and providing them with viable alternatives. As the PUVMP progresses, it is crucial for all stakeholders to work together to address concerns, provide clarity, and prioritize the well-being of those affected by the program.

Source: The Manila Times

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