Sen. Grace Poe said public utility drivers (PUV) who have yet to get assistance more than two months into the lockdown should not be left out in the second tranche of the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).
The cash aid should quickly reach the drivers who have no income for the duration of the quarantine, forcing some to beg on the streets, the chairperson of the Senate public services committee lamented.
“We expect that the release of SAP’s second tranche to our vulnerable sectors, including drivers, will be more brisk this time, in the wake of the government’s move to send assistance instead through digital means,” Poe said.
Poe also pushed for the handing of the remaining undistributed aid to beneficiaries, including PUV drivers.
Based on the Executive’s latest report to Congress on the implementation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act, a total of 62,028 PUV and transport network vehicle service drivers have received cash aid out of the 90,000 estimated beneficiaries.
“There are more PUV drivers who are barely getting by because of the two-month lockdown, and we hope that government will come to their aid,” Poe said.
At the same time, Poe asked for assurance from concerned government agencies that all measures are in place to avoid a spillover of commuters along highways in the face of social distancing measures, as the government gears up for the resumption of mass transportation.
She said transportation officials and other implementers should brace for the challenge of “enabling the movement of people without enabling the spread of the virus.”
“The influx of commuters at the train stations will unavoidably lead to long queues. Without proper strategy, this can compromise the safety of the public,” Poe warned.
The senator earlier asked the Department of Transportation to submit to the Senate a report on its strategic preparations to ensure order and proper enforcement of safety protocols once public transportation resumes operations.
With the reduced ridership due to physical distancing, Poe had said government assistance should be on hand to address the expected decrease in take-home income of drivers.