12,000 Region-7 drivers may get government aid
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - April 9, 2020 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board-7 has already submitted the names of 12,000 public utility vehicle drivers in Central Visayas who lost their livelihood due to the COVID-19 pandemic as possible beneficiaries of the government’s social amelioration program.

LTFRB-7 Director Eduardo Montealto said yesterday that Central Visayas has 28,000 PUV drivers, majority are in Cebu.

He said the names submitted are those who underwent Driver's Academy Training, as well as those belonging to a transport cooperative.

"Ang mga PUV drivers nga naka undergo og trainings sa Driver's Academy kay naa gyud mi listahan ana nila ug kadtong nasakop sa mga transport cooperative. Mao to sila ang nauna namo og forward sa among head office sa Manila then ang sila na ang mo forward sa DSWD aron sa pag assess," said Montealto.

He added that some of those on the list are still being forwarded to several transport cooperatives to cross-check if the persons are still connected with such coops.

"Ang problema gyud kaning mga individual drivers nga kuwang ang nga mga data sama sa walay address ug walay contact numbers," Montealto said.

DSWD will be providing social amelioration measures to vulnerable sectors who have been affected by the community quarantine amid the COVID-19 crisis as mandated by Republic Act (RA) 11469 or the “Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.”

The P5,000 to P8,000 worth of social amelioration is based on the maximum subsidy per region determined from the region’s minimum wage levels as these are close approximations to the amount needed to buy basic food, medicine, and hygiene essentials.

In Central Visayas, the social amelioration is P6,000 per month for two months (April and May).

The social amelioration measures aims to help mitigate the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 health crisis and the enhanced community quarantine to the target beneficiaries, particularly the senior citizens, persons with disability, pregnant and lactating mothers, solo parents, overseas Filipinos in distress, indigent Indigenous Peoples, homeless citizens, and the informal economy workers including the public utility vehicle drivers.

No Permits

Also yesterday, LTFRB-7 apprehended eight PUVs for travelling without a special permit.

Montealto said that of the eight, five were vans and three, jeepneys.

"Ni-pick up gyud ni sila og mga pasahero unya dili ni allowed ron," said Montealto, adding that public transportation is temporarily suspended due to the enhanced community quarantine implemented in Cebu.

Meanwhile, the Land Transportation Office-7's Malasakit Text Line continues to serve more than thousands of people since its launch in March.

The Malasakit Text Line is open for all questions and concerns related to license, registration, motor vehicle plates and apprehension to fill the void after the LTO-7 offices were temporarily closed due to ongoing health crisis.

LTO-7 said it also continues to implement social distancing and no backrider policy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.  JMD (FREEMAN)

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