The Department of Transportation is asking Malacanang and Congress to extend the funding for the service contracting program for public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers under the Bayanihan 2 Act that expired last June 30.
“Nakikiusap po kami sa Congress, Senado at sa Office of the President na ako naman naniniwala na makikinig sila na kung pwede ibalik at bigyan ng additional effectivity ang Bayanihan 2,” Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade said Friday.
“Kung mangyayari iyon at pakiramdam ko mangyayari yun maibabalik ang Libreng Sakay program under service contracting,” he added.
The DOTr is also looking at P3 billion funding from the General Appropriation Act (GAA) to extend the service contracting program of the government.
Out of the P5.5-billion funds for the service contracting program under Bayanihan Act 2, the DOTr disbursed over P2 billion. Its remaining budget was diverted to the national treasury.
Under the program, participating PUV drivers would receive an onboarding incentive and a per kilometer fee to ferry medical frontliners, authorized persons outside of residence (APORs), and essential employees.
For those joining the Free Ride initiative under the Service Contracting Program, the DOTr and Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) increased the payouts from P46.80 to P82.50 per kilometer for buses, and P52.50 for jeepneys.
PUV drivers also stand to receive an additional P7,000 if they log-in via the LTFRB’s Driver mobile application for five days a week.
On Thursday, DOTr inaugurated two transport development projects in Mindanao that would further improve mobility and boost the domestic economy in the region.
The agency completed the Butuan Airport’s runway asphalt overlay, passenger terminal building (PTB) rehabilitation works, and its Malasakit Hall to improve air mobility in the Caraga region.
In addition, the DOTr and the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) have completed the expansion of Cantilan Port in Surigao del Sur.
Tugade said the Butuan Airport and Cantilan Port development projects will not only provide comfort and convenience to passengers but are also expected to promote local growth, tourism, and job generation.
He added that small businesses are also expected to flourish in the Caraga Region as more jobs are generated.